Celtics

Celtics-Trail Blazers Takeaways: Tatum has 36 for an encore; C's roll in Portland

Celtics-Trail Blazers Takeaways: Tatum has 36 for an encore; C's roll in Portland

Jayson Tatum had the best game of his life in Los Angeles, dropping 41 on LeBron & Co. 

His encore performance in Portland was just as impressive, as Boston's All-Star delivered yet another brilliant scoring effort to lead the Celtics to a 118-106 win. 

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Tatum finished with 36 points against the Blazers, mixing in yet another array of dribble-drive baskets, 3-pointers (he had a career-high eight 3’s) and finishes at the rim. 

This was actually a better performance for Tatum because of the game’s outcome. 

The Celtics, playing without Kemba Walker (knee) for the third game in a row, got contributions from several players in addition to Tatum. 

Still, this game was yet another one where Tatum was again the best player on the floor. 

KILLER 3’S

The Celtics were looking for the 3-point shot early and often, and considering who they were playing…you can understand why. 

Boston has been a top-10 team from 3-point range most of this season, while the Blazers have been among the NBA’s worst teams when it comes to defending the 3. 

Portland came in allowing 13 made 3's per game, a total that the Celtics reached after just three quarters of play. 

Boston finished with a season-high 19 made 3-pointers.

This was another game in which the Celtics faced an opponent with a clear weakness and to their credit, they took full advantage. 

JAYLEN BROWN

Boston began to put some distance between itself and Portland in the second quarter and Brown’s play had a lot to do with it. 

He would finish with 24 points, 12 of which came in the second quarter, which ended with the Celtics leading, 56-48.

Following the loss to the Lakers on Sunday, Brown talked about how Tatum had elevated his play to another level, and the rest of the Celtics - himself included - had to step up as well. 

Tuesday was a strong step in that direction, for sure. 

BRAD WANAMAKER

It has been a rough few games for Wanamaker, who came into Tuesday 3-for-14 (21.4 percent) from the field in his past two games. 

Wanamaker was much better on Tuesday, scoring 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field. 

But more than the scoring, Wanamaker played with more poise and was among the keys to Boston getting the win. 

If you’re the Celtics, you’re hoping the backup guard will build off his solid performance especially with Walker missing the past three games and no clear indication when exactly will he will be back. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Jazz, which begins Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

NBA Rumors: Execs expect Gordon Hayward to opt in to $34 million Celtics contract

NBA Rumors: Execs expect Gordon Hayward to opt in to $34 million Celtics contract

Gordon Hayward was enjoying his best season as a Boston Celtic before the 2019-20 season came to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Through 45 games, the 30-year-old forward was averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. Hayward's performance was setting himself up for a solid contract if he were to opt out of his contract and hit free agency this summer.

That scenario doesn't appear likely, however.

According to Heavy.com, NBA executives expect Hayward to exercise his $34 million player option.

'It’s too much money to pass up,' one general manager told Heavy.com. 'He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him, they have a lot of young guys to pay and the starting (salary) number on whatever the contract is will not be close to $34 million. He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year. When you look at what he has done since his injury, he has only gotten better. He could get better next year and be ready for the summer of 2021.'

That doesn't exactly come as a surprise. Hayward may get a nice contract if he were to hit the open market this year, but it certainly wouldn't be anywhere near that eye-popping $34 million figure.

It makes far more sense for Hayward to take his money and test the market in 2021 if he and the Celtics don't agree on an extension before then. The 2021 free agent class will be much deeper, and teams will have more cap space to give Hayward a sizable long-term deal. That is, if he can duplicate the kind of success he's enjoyed so far this season.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Paul Pierce and Brian Scalabrine break down 2008 Finals Game 6 vs. L.A

Celtics Talk Podcast: Paul Pierce and Brian Scalabrine break down 2008 Finals Game 6 vs. L.A

With the 2019-20 NBA season suspended, what better time to relive the Boston Celtics' 2008 Finals run vs. the Los Angeles Lakers?

As part of NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series, Paul Pierce and Brian Scalabrine took a trip down memory lane and watched their Game 6 series-clincher while providing some commentary.

In the latest Celtics Talk Podcast, you can listen to Pierce and Scal go quarter by quarter to get Pierce’s recollection of what it was like to win a championship in front of the Boston crowd.

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Boston was 35-6 at home in the 2008 regular season and lost only one game at home in their playoff run. Pierce credits that success, and their dominant Game 6 performance, to the raucous fans at TD Garden.

We're at home, we've been a dominant home team ... you could just feel it. I don't know, it's just something about the Garden, man. You could just feel it. It was like, when the momentum was going, you know the type of runs we were capable of...

Just pulling up to the arena when you see everybody just all in the streets coming from the bars. And it was just like, when we were in the locker room before the game and you hear the chants of 'Beat L.A.," it's hard to hear in the locker room. Our crowd was that energetic and I just remember hearing that from the locker room. There's just something about the energy in that building, man. That's why we were so dominant at home throughout the playoffs.

After re-watching their dominant 131-92 win, Pierce reflected on what it felt like to finally walk off the court an NBA champion.

It was the best feeling in the world because you think about all the years from the time I started playing basketball, this is what it was all about. Making it to the NBA and winning a championship and doing it with the Boston Celtics ... 

I'm just ecstatic. I'm like man, these are my brothers for life. Everybody knows what we go through every day in practice. Everyday is not always smooth. We have arguments. But it's all for this moment and you can't -- those moments will never go away, man. They'll live with you forever.

NBC Sports Boston's Classic Celtics series will continue with a bunch of memorable games on the docket, including the C's 1986 showdown vs. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1896 playoffs. That one is set to air Sunday night at 7 p.m.

To hear more from Pierce and Scal about their 2008 championship run, check out this week's episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, available on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network and YouTube.