NBA: Tatum returns, Celtics cruise past Warriors

Field Level Media via Reuters

Posted at Jan 31 2020 11:50 AM


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Gordon Hayward scored 25 points, Marcus Smart added 21 and the Boston Celtics beat the visiting Golden State Warriors, 119-104, Thursday.

Jayson Tatum had 20 points in his return from a three-game absence with a groin injury, and Jaylen Brown chipped in 18 before fouling out as the Celtics won for the fifth time in their last six games. Tatum was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team as a reserve earlier in the day.

D'Angelo Russell had 22 points and Alec Burks 18 for the Warriors, who have lost five straight and 15 of 16.

The Celtics played their first game at home since a tragic helicopter crash claimed the life of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others Sunday. Prior to the contest, Boston held a 24-second moment of silence in honor of Bryant, followed by a tribute video.

The Warriors grabbed a 7-1 lead to start, but the Celtics tied the score at 15 on a Brown dunk off a full-court pass from Smart. Boston went ahead and held the lead from there, ending the first up 29-22.

A Semi Ojeleye three to begin the second gave the Celtics their first double-digit advantage, and Boston ran its lead to 17 at 46-29 with 6:36 left in the half. The Warriors responded with a 10-0 run, but the Celtics answered with a 12-3 spurt.

Kemba Walker beat the buzzer with a short basket, and Boston led, 60-50, at halftime. Hayward had 17 points; Russell led Golden State with 12.

Brown and Tatum hit 3-pointers to begin the third and the Celtics upped their lead to 18 at 72-54 on a Tatum bucket with 8:38 to go. The Warriors got within single digits, 77-68, at 4:02, but Smart drained back-to-back 3s, added another with 1:40 left and helped Boston to a 91-79 edge entering the final quarter.

The Celtics' lead reached as high as 19 in coasting through the fourth.

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