Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and Grant Williams chipped in a career-high-tying 18 off the bench as the Boston Celtics earned their first victory by defeating the Houston Rockets 107-97 Sunday at Toyota Center.
Tatum shot 12-for-24 and grabbed nine rebounds as Boston overcame the absence of Jaylen Brown (knee) with a balanced attack. Williams started 4-for-4 from the floor, including 3-for-3 on 3-pointers while Dennis Schroder and Al Horford scored 18 and 17 points, respectively.
The Celtics assisted on 22 of their 38 field goals and scored 28 points on 20 Houston turnovers.
Boston trailed by as many as nine points in the first quarter before riding a hot start behind the arc from their reserves. Excluding Tatum, the Celtics shot 4 of 14 in the first quarter but by the intermission, Boston reserves made 6 of 13 3-pointers with Williams going 3 of 4.
Rockets guard Jalen Green scored a career-high 30 points and made a franchise rookie record eight threes. He started 5-for-5 from deep and shot 11-for-18 from the floor. Christian Wood added 20 points and nine boards while Kevin Porter Jr. scored 15 points yet committed eight turnovers.
Houston carried a 30-22 lead into the second quarter but Boston opened that frame with a 6-0 spurt before Green responded with a three. But the Celtics had seized the momentum for good and forged their first lead since 10-9 when Horford converted a layup for a 45-43 advantage with 3:07 left in the half.
Boston then opened the second half with a 12-4 burst, including a 10-0 run that featured 3-pointers from Horford and Tatum and a three-point play from Marcus Smart.
The Rockets clawed to within 70-63 on a Wood three before Boston extended to a 20-point lead, with Horford tallying seven points and Schroder six during an extended run that included threes from Williams and Smart.
When Houston cut that deficit in half by the 7:19 mark of the fourth quarter, Williams drained another three that pushed the margin to 96-83.
Horford added 10 rebounds, three steals and three blocks to his stat line.