Celtics demolish Warriors, set record with third 50-point win

BOSTON — Jaylen Brown scored 29 points, Jayson Tatum had 27 on his 26th birthday and the NBA-best Boston Celtics posted their third-largest winning margin in franchise history, drubbing the weary Golden State Warriors 140-88 on Sunday.

Payton Pritchard added 19 points for the Celtics, who set a league record with their third win this season by 50 points or more and extended their season-best winning streak to 11 games. Boston led by a franchise-record 44 points at halftime and pushed it to 51 early in the third quarter before coach Joe Mazzulla went to his reserves the rest of the way.

The Celtics are beating teams by an average of 22.1 points over their past 11 games, the best point differential over a win streak of at least 10 games in a single season in NBA history, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.

Boston has outscored teams by 29.8 PPG over their past six games, a span that includes two 50-point wins, something that only two other teams have done in an entire season. That’s the best point differential over a six-game span in NBA history, passing the 1971-72 Lakers (+28.3), who won a then-record 69 games.

“It feels great, but, at the same time, it’s always within humility,” Brown said. “We don’t take the game for granted. We didn’t come and mess around and that’s just how we show our respect to the game, we handle business and take care of it. … It’s a lot of respect for the Golden State Warriors, but we feel like it’s our time now.”

Stephen Curry didn’t play the second half and finished with a season-low four points for Golden State, his fewest since he had three points in 16 minutes on March 16, 2022, at Boston — a game he departed with a foot injury. Curry was 2-of-13 from the field Sunday and missed all 9 of his 3-point attempts, including consecutive airballs in the opening quarter.

“The way that they’ve been playing, they seem very sure of themselves in their identity and who they are,” Curry said. “Give them credit. They came out and whooped us tonight from the jump, and it was one of those perfect storms of a rough [day] on our end and them taking it to us.”

It was the fourth-worst loss in franchise history for the Warriors. They had won 11 of 13, including the first three of their East Coast trip that included three games in four days and a difficult journey to Toronto in which they sat on a tarmac for hours overnight.

Lester Quinones led Golden State with 17 points in a team-high 33 minutes. None of the Warriors’ starters played more than 20 minutes, and Moses Moody (11 points) was the only one to score in double figures.

“We lost,” Draymond Green said. “Just flush it and move on.”

Boston’s only bigger blowout wins were 133-77 at Chicago on Dec. 8, 2018, and 128-75 over visiting Sacramento on Jan. 25, 2022.

Celtics forward Kristaps Porzingis missed the game with a bruised left quad.

The game was tied at 21-all in the opening quarter before the Celtics scored the next 14 points to begin a 58-13 spree that put them ahead by 35 late in the second quarter.

Brown sparked the run by hitting three straight 3s in a 40-second span, with Green playing some interesting defense by leaving him all alone and dropping off by at least 5 feet several times in the opening quarter.

“We told Jaylen, ‘If they’re going to keep doing that, you should shoot 20, 30 3s,'” Pritchard said.

Brown scored 19 points in the period, connecting on 5 of 8 3s, to push Boston to a 44-22 lead.

“First time it’s ever happened to me,” Brown said of the lax defense. “Honestly, I was a bit surprised. It took a little bit of adjusting and I think we just took advantage of whatever that attempt was and made the best of it.”

“If you want to dare me to shoot, we can do that, too,” he added. “I thought it was a little disrespectful, but we took advantage of it and we didn’t look back.”

Curry, listed as questionable with right knee bursitis, went through warmups and decided to play. He front-rimmed his first 3 before airballing the next two.

“Boston was amazing,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “We weren’t beating them today. This was not a day off for Steph, though he probably could have used one. He’s played so well and for so long this year, hopefully the next few days he’ll get it recharged.”

In the opening quarter, Boston shot 62.5% on 3s (10-of-16) and 57.1% overall (16-of-28).

Tatum’s 3 from the left wing pushed it to 74-34 in the second.

The Warriors missed 15 of 18 3-point attempts in the first half, and Boston had as many 3s (15-of-24) in the half as Golden State had baskets.

Boston left the floor to a standing ovation at halftime, holding an 82-38 lead.

In the second half, the crowd was somewhat subdued during the nationally televised matchup between teams that met in the NBA Finals two years ago. Golden State won that series in six games, wrapping it up at Boston.

The fans gave Tatum a standing ovation when his birthday wishes were posted in the final quarter. He waved to the crowd with a big smile.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

First appeared on www.espn.com

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