PORTLAND, Ore. — Jayson Tatum’s scorching stretch continued on Tuesday, as the All-Star poured in a career high eight 3-pointers and scored 36 points in Boston’s commanding 118-106 win over the Trail Blazers.
Tatum, who has reached the 28-point mark in four consecutive games, reached this high point total Tuesday without attempting a free throw.
Tatum had 10 points in the first half, which is a generally quiet stretch by his recent standards. But his second half looked more familiar. He had 12 points in the third quarter and then put the Blazers away with a crushing stretch at the start of the fourth.
Over a span of 1 minute, 51 seconds, the All-Star drilled a tough step-back 3-pointer, then hit a midrange fadeaway, and then sized up Blazers center Hassan Whiteside and poured in a 30-footer over his outstretched arm. That gave Boston a 98-79 lead, and it was not in danger again.
Jaylen Brown added 24 points and seven rebounds for Boston. The Celtics made 19 of 39 3-poitners overall.
Celtics point guard Kemba Walker missed his third game in a row due to knee soreness. But the Blazers were without their own All-Star, Damian Lillard, who sat because of a groin strain.
Observations from the game:
■ The Celtics appeared a bit sleepy at the start, perhaps taking a bit to rev back up after playing in Sunday’s buzz-filled game against the Lakers. They fell behind, 7-0, and it could have been even worse, as Portland missed its next three 3-pointers after that, including a pair that rattled in and out. But the malaise didn’t last long.
■ The Blazers are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and they rank 26th in opponent’s 3-point percentage. The Celtics consistently looked beyond the arc and the results were positive. Tatum hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Boston an 18-17 lead, and then Marcus Smart, who started the game 0 for 4 from the field, hit three 3-pointers in a row.
■ Smart is never one to turn down a good opportunity for a heat check, and this was a perfect chance. This one did not end well, however. He thought he had drawn contact when he fired up his next 3-pointer, but there was no call and it was an airball. Nevertheless, the Celtics made 7 of 12 3-pointers in the first quarter and forced seven turnovers.
■ Carmelo Anthony and Semi Ojeleye had some fun battles in the post in the second quarter. First, Anthony backed down Ojeleye — no easy task — and scored over him. On the next opportunity, he tried a similar tactic, but Ojeleye anticipated the powerful bump and thudded to the floor, taking a charge.
■ One sequence perhaps best summarized the first half for the Blazers. Brown made several good moves to free himself from Anthony before Whiteside swooped in and swatted the shot out of bounds with 1.5 seconds left on the shot clock. Whiteside cupped his ear and egged on the crowd. Then Brown missed a 3-point heave before the shot-clock buzzer, but Gordon Hayward swooped in, grabbed the offensive rebound and put in a layup anyway.
■ Midway through the third quarter Anthony picked up a technical foul for saying something to an official after Brad Wanamaker was called for fouling him, which is an unusual situation. But the notable part of this stretch was that Brown was the one chosen to take the technical free throw by the Celtics. He has struggled from the line throughout his career but entered the night shooting a career-best 73.7 from the charity stripe. This was a vote of confidence.
■ Brad Stevens technical fouls are rare occurrences. But he has now received them in consecutive games. On Sunday, he was whistled for a potentially costly one when he was upset no foul was called on Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope when Stevens believed he had bumped him out of bounds. In the third quarter Tuesday he picked up another for his reaction when Enes Kanter was called for an illegal screen. But his team had a comfortable lead this time.
■ There were some scattered “We want Tacko” chants at the end of the game. But Tacko Fall is with the Red Claws. Also, it’s wild to hear these requests in Oregon.