NBA regular season

After tough start, Celtics shut down Pelicans


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After tough start, Celtics shut down Pelicans

BALANCED. Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (9) reacts with teammates after making a basket against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at Smoothie King Center.

Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Five players score in double figures as the league-leading Celtics end a two-game losing streak – tied for their longest of the season

Kristaps Porzingis had a double-double and Boston’s defense stifled the New Orleans Pelicans’ offense in the visiting Celtics’ 104-92 victory on Saturday, March 30 (Sunday, March 31, Manila time).

Porzingis finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, four teammates also scored in double figures, and the Celtics (58-16) took command in the third quarter to end a two-game losing streak – tied for their longest of the season.

Jayson Tatum scored 23 points, Jaylen Brown had 17, Derrick White had 15, and Jrue Holiday added 13.

Zion Williamson scored 25 points, CJ McCollum added 24, Herbert Jones had 18, and Trey Murphy III 11 to lead the Pelicans (45-29). New Orleans scored 37 points in the first quarter but finished with fewer points in the second and third quarters combined (31).

The Celtics started the third with a 9-2 run that produced a 68-59 lead. McCollum made a field goal and Murphy added a three-pointer to get the Pelicans within four points before they went cold.

Boston increased the lead to 11 as New Orleans didn’t make a field goal for nearly four minutes. Murphy ended the drought by making another three-pointer before Tatum had 5 points during a finishing 7-0 run that gave the Celtics an 83-65 lead at the end of the third. New Orleans shot 4-for-23 from the floor in the period.

The Celtics pushed the lead to 22 less than four minutes into the fourth.

Williamson scored 10 points and McCollum had 8 as New Orleans took a 23-13 first-quarter lead. The Pelicans led by as many as 11 before Holiday scored 5 straight points to help trim the lead to 37-28 at the end of the period. Williamson and McCollum finished the period with 12 points each.

Boston scored the first 7 points of the second and pulled even at 44 on a tip-in by White. New Orleans rebuilt the lead to 5 before Tatum made a three-pointer and White beat the buzzer with a three-pointer that gave the Celtics a 59-57 halftime lead. –

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