Tatum leads Celtic rout of Nets, Sixers bounce back
Published: Feb 02, 2023 06:15 PM
Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 25, 2022 in Boston, the US. Photo: VCG

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 25, 2022 in Boston, the US. Photo: VCG

Jayson Tatum scored 31 points as the Boston Celtics put the depleted Brooklyn Nets firmly in their place with a brutal 139-96 mauling on Wednesday.

The heavyweight clash between the two Eastern Conference rivals ended with the Nets reeling on the ropes as the Celtics laid down a marker with an emphatic wire-to-wire victory at the TD Garden.

Boston dominated from the outset, running up a remarkable 46 points in the first quarter alone, with Tatum contributing 18 points. 

By half-time, the Celtics had raced into a 34-point lead against a Brooklyn side still missing the injured Kevin Durant.

Tatum's 31-point haul included seven three-pointers from 12-of-19 shooting while Jaylen Brown provided scoring support with 26 points. 

Six Boston players finished in double figures after a lopsided rout.

Kyrie Irving led the Brooklyn Nets scoring with 20 points.

"A couple of days off did us good, we felt refreshed," Boston star Tatum said afterwards. "We have depth and a next-man-up mentality."

Tatum reserved special praise for Robert Williams III, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. 

"On any given night, Rob might be the most important guy to our long-term success," Tatum said. 

"To get to where we want to get to, we need Rob on the floor and we need him healthy."

Elsewhere, the Philadelphia 76ers bounced back from their upset loss to the Orlando Magic on Monday with a comprehensive 105-94 defeat of the Florida club.

The Sixers had been on a roll heading into Monday's game with seven straight wins, but somehow squandered a 21-point advantage to crash 119-109.

A scheduling quirk meant the Sixers did not have to wait long to avenge that loss, and Philadelphia duly seized the opportunity on Wednesday. 

A reinvigorated Sixers side turned the tables with a convincing victory thanks to 28 points from Joel Embiid and 26 points from James Harden.

Harden narrowly missed out on a triple double, finishing with nine rebounds and 10 assists, with a points tally that included six three-pointers.
Markelle Fultz topped the Magic scoring with 18 points. 
In Memphis, the prolific Damian Lillard poured in 42 points for a second straight game as the Portland Trail Blazers downed the Grizzlies 122-112.

Lillard, who also had 10 assists and eight rebounds, is now tied with Shaquille O'Neal in 19th place on the rankings of players with the most 40-point games in NBA history. 

Lillard, who also scored 42 points in a win over Atlanta on Monday, now has 49 40-point games.