Celtics

Kendrick Perkins picks Celtics' Brad Stevens as NBA Coach of the Year front-runner

Kendrick Perkins picks Celtics' Brad Stevens as NBA Coach of the Year front-runner

The short-handed Boston Celtics pulled off another big win on Friday night, and Kendrick Perkins was impressed.

The former C's big man chimed in on Twitter following Boston's victory over the Detroit Pistons to praise Brad Stevens and his team's "next man up mentality." He even went as far as to declare Stevens the front-runner for NBA Coach of the Year.

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Stevens certainly has plenty of competition for the award, but Perkins has a valid point. Boston is 19-7 and second in the Eastern Conference despite injuries nagging the team throughout the year. Plus, the complete 180 in team chemistry has been noteworthy.

If the C's keep up this pace throughout the season, it's hard to imagine Stevens won't at least be in the running for Coach of the Year honors. There still are 55 games left on the schedule, though, so we've got a long way to go before we start taking that discussion seriously.

WATCH: Stevens fires up TD Garden crowd before putting Tacko in game

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

His encore performance in Portland was just as impressive, delivering yet another brilliant scoring game in leading the Celtics to a 118-106 win. 

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

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 Highlights: Jayson Tatum keeps it going with 36 points as Celtics bounce back in Portland, 118-106

NBA Highlights: Jayson Tatum keeps it going with 36 points as Celtics bounce back in Portland, 118-106

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 118, Trail Blazers 106

IN BRIEF: Jayson Tatum continued his torrid scoring pace with eight 3-pointers in a 36-point effort as the Celtics bounced back from a tough loss to the Lakers with win No. 40, beating the Trail Blazers 118-106 in Portland on their Western trip. BOX SCORE

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

CELTICS RECORD: 40-17, 3rd in Eastern Conference

HIGHLIGHTS

TATUM PICKING UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF:

SMART HEATING UP:

OJELEYE TAKING THE CHARGE:

KANTER WITH THE HOOK:

TATUM TURNS IT ON AND FINISHES STRONG:

TATUM WITH THE LOB TO THEIS:

MORE TATUM...FROM DOWNTOWN:

UP NEXT:
@Utah Jazz, Wednesday, 10:30 p.m., NBC Sports Boston
Vs. Houston Rockets, Saturday, 8:30 p.m., ABC 

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.