Celtics-Rockets takeaways: Tatum shines in C's first win


The Boston Celtics are in the win column.

After dropping their first two games of the 2021 NBA season to the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors, the C's were able to earn a road win vs. the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. It was a total team effort for Boston to make up for Jaylen Brown being out with a knee injury.

Simulation: What does the future look like for 2021-22 Celtics?

Here are a few instant takeaways from the 107-97 victory, which marks Ime Udoka's first win as a head coach.

Jayson Tatum finding his groove

It's safe to say Tatum has shaken off the rust after his dismal performance in the season opener. The Celtics star was outstanding on both ends of the court in Houston, dropping a game-high 31 points to go with nine rebounds.

He also notched a block and a steal to go with two assists, including this beauty to Al Horford.

As great as Tatum was on Sunday, it's clear he's still getting back into the swing of things. The 23-year-old will look to build off this game when the C's visit the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

Grant Williams: Legit 3-point threat?

Remember when Grant Williams missed the first 25 3-point attempts of his NBA career? We've come a long way since then.

Williams is 9-for-13 from beyond the arc so far this season after hitting 5 of his 6 3s in Sunday's win. The 22-year-old was the C's second-leading scorer, trailing only Tatum with 18 points off the bench.


Don't look now, but Williams is averaging 12.7 points per game and shooting 70 percent from the floor through the first three games of the campaign. We're not quite ready to compare him to Steph Curry just yet, but Williams will demand the respect of defenders going forward if this impressive shooting display continues.

Aaron Nesmith gets another goose egg

Jaylen Brown's absence vs. Houston gave Aaron Nesmith a perfect opportunity to step up, but the second-year wing struggled to get anything going offensively. Nesmith scored zero points for the third straight game to open the season as he went 0-for-4 from 3-point range. The 22-year-old is now 0-for-10 from the field so far in the campaign.

Nesmith's Summer League and preseason performances led many to believe he could be a breakout player for Boston in 2021-22. While that summer success hasn't yet translated, it's hard to believe this slump will continue for much longer for the 2020 lottery pick.

Dennis Schroder sharp in first Celtics start

Schroder replaced Brown in the C's starting lineup and was a key contributor in the victory. The shifty point guard tallied 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting while dishing five assists and bringing down five boards.

Sunday marked Schroder's best performance of his three games so far with Boston. He'll be counted on to be a reliable sixth man when the Celtics are at full strength, but it's encouraging to see the newcomer thrive in a starting role when called upon.

Jalen Green looks the part

Jalen Green said he had a chip on his shoulder after being taken second overall in the 2021 NBA Draft after Cade Cunningham. Perhaps he had a point.

The 19-year-old was exceptional for Houston in his third NBA game, dropping 30 points and hitting eight of his 10 shots from beyond the arc.

Green's stellar performance makes him the first teenager with a 30-point game in Rockets history. He also tied Yao Ming for the most points by a Rockets rookie in the last 20 seasons, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Welcome to the NBA, kid.