The Boston Celtics blew out the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse for their third straight win Wednesday night, 119-100.
It's the C's first three-game win streak since Nov. 19-22 and their longest such streak of the season thus far. Boston was led by huge performances from its All-Star tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Dennis Schroder also shined as the team's starting point guard.
Here are three instant takeaways from the Celtics' victory, which evens their record at 21-21. Next up is a Friday night matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown shine as a duo
Some have recently criticized Tatum and Brown for not playing up to their potential as a duo. Well, the Jays definitely quieted those naysayers on Wednesday.
Tatum and Brown powered the Celtics' dominant win with a combined 67 points on 22-of-38 shooting (11-of-20 from 3). Brown dropped a game-high 34 points while Tatum contributed 33. Both scored early and often and both shot 11-of-19 from the field.
Tatum also reached an impressive milestone with his 700th career 3-pointer.
Brown is averaging 29.6 points through six games this month.
Unsurprisingly, the Celtics look like a completely different team when both of their stars are playing the way they're capable of. They're now 6-0 all-time when Tatum and Brown each score 30 or more points.
It's an encouraging sign as the C's hope for a much-improved second half of the campaign.
Dennis Schroder steps up in Marcus Smart's absence
Dennis Schroder got the start at point guard with Marcus Smart sidelined due to a right thigh contusion suffered in Monday night's win. The first-year Celtic took advantage of the opportunity.
Schroder finished with 23 points while shooting 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from long range.
Schroder continues to be far more effective in the starting lineup than off the bench. Smart has been the starting point guard for the majority of the season, but this is a trend C's head coach Ime Udoka might want to monitor.
Of course, this also may have been a timely Schroder showcase if the Celtics indeed are open to trading him ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline. If he stays in Boston, he'll continue to be a useful depth piece.
Celtics offense pulls a 180
This was not the same Celtics offense we watched barely squeak out a win vs. Indiana on Monday night. They came out firing with 35 points in the first quarter. They hit seven of their first eight 3-point attempts.
The second quarter wasn't as pretty as the C's watched their 14-point lead dwindle to five at the half. They went 1-for-7 with four turnovers in the final 5:05. But unlike many of their previous performances this season, they responded with a strong second half.
The Celtics shot 51.3% from the field and 47.4% (18-38) from 3. They improved in the turnover category with only 11 to Monday night's 20. They'll need another game like this one when they head to Philadelphia to take on a fifth-place Sixers squad.