Keys to the game Celtics 121, Trail Blazers 99

Keys to the game: Celtics 121, Trail Blazers 99

When the Celtics’ season opener against the Trail Blazers began Monday night, there were uncertainties about who would be available.

One thing was always certain: who would win the game?

Boston was dominant from start to end, consistently producing wide-open looks on offense while playing solid defense and coasting to victory. The Celtics established an 8-7 lead with 9:46 left in the first quarter and led for the rest of the game.

Boston had plenty of offense in the first quarter and throughout the game. During the first quarter, the Celtics shot an impressive 55.6 percent from the floor and had 12 assists. With 12 assists in a single quarter, the squad set a new season best. The team’s exceptional ball movement and shot-making abilities propelled them to a nine-point advantage in the first quarter, which grew to 17 in the second quarter as they cruised to victory.

Seven Celtics scored in the first quarter, led by Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, who each had nine points. Meanwhile, the other three starters – Payton Pritchard, Derrick White, and Jayson Tatum – each had three assists over the first 12 minutes, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

Key Player

Jaylen Brown is on a hot streak, especially from inside the arc.

Brown’s trend of strong scoring outings extended Monday night in Portland, with 27 points. It was the seventh time in his past eight games that he scored at least 25 points, with at least 21 in each of them.

The shooting, especially from inside the three-point line, has been simply remarkable. He was 12-for-21 from inside the arc Monday night in Portland, bringing his overall 2-point percentage to 58.7 percent over the previous eight games.

Brown finished with six rebounds, five assists, and one steal. Perhaps most notable is that he did not commit a single turnover throughout his 32-plus minutes of high-usage basketball.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Six Celtics scored at least 11 points, including 27 from Jaylen Brown, 26 from Jayson Tatum, and a season-high 22 from Sam Hauser.
  • Hauser went 6-for-10 from long range.
  • Portland went a perfect 11-for-11 from the foul line.
  • The Celtics committed only three turnovers, matching their season low in that area.
  • Tatum, Payton Pritchard, and Scoot Henderson matched for the game lead in assists, with eight each.
  • Boston had 34 assists on 49 made baskets.
  • Boston defeated Portland 23-6 on fast break points.
  • DeAndre Ayton led Portland with 22 points and 15 rebounds.
  • Derrick White and Al Horford both blocked three shots, giving the Celtics ten total.
  • All 11 Celtics who participated in the game had a positive plus-minus rating.

Quote for the Night

“We just played hard, made the right reads on offense, knew our personnel on defense, and made a lot of shots – so that helps too.”

– Sam Hauser on how the Celtics managed the game versus Portland.

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