LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Jayson Tatum scored 34 points, Jaylen Brown added 30 and the Boston Celtics built a big early lead before holding on for a 128-124 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.
“That was a playoff-level energy that we had to play with at the end of the game,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “This is a great experience.”
Tatum, who added a career-high eight assists, rebounded from a terrible performance in a loss to Milwaukee on Friday when he scored just five points on 2-of-18 shooting.
“It’s just about making the right reads," Tatum said. “Seeing the double-teams. Making the right play. Jaylen was open and those were the right reads.”
Damian Lillard had 30 points and 16 assists for Portland. Jusuf Nurkic added 30 points in his second official game back after breaking his leg in March 2019.
Boston led by as many as 24 in the second quarter. But Portland opened the fourth quarter with a 15-4 run, with three 3-pointers from Lillard and two from CJ McCollum, to put them on top 101-98.
“If anything, we’ll take away we played extremely well in the second half against a really good team," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “We don’t have any time to have a hangover after a loss.”
Gary Trent Jr. hit a 3-pointer with less than 2 minutes to go before the Celtics used a 7-0 run to take a 125-119 lead with about 30 seconds left.