WASHINGTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 51 points — 48 of them in the first three quarters — and the Boston Celtics breezed to a 116-87 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday.
Tatum made nine 3-pointers and shot 18 of 28 from the field. He had 31 points by halftime and reached 50 on a drive to the basket with about 4:30 remaining in the game. He added a technical-foul free throw with 3:55 to play and then checked out of the game while the crowd in Washington, which included plenty of green-clad Boston fans, gave him a standing ovation.
Bradley Beal scored 19 points for the Wizards, who never led in coach Wes Unseld Jr.’s return from being on the COVID-19 health and safety protocol list. Washington, which has one game remaining on an eight-game homestand, has dropped three in a row.
Boston led 46-45 in the second quarter, but then Tatum’s 17-footer started a 14-0 run to close the half. Tatum added a couple free throws and two 3-pointers during that stretch and finished with 18 points in the quarter.
He reached 40 points with a couple free throws with 4:48 left in the third. Moments later, a dunk put him even with his season high of 42 that he set last month against Milwaukee. He added two more 3s before the quarter was over, the second of which put Boston up 89-62.
Tatum seemed to realize his day might be done soon, taking three more shots in the final minute of the quarter. They all missed, and he ended the third a bucket shy of 50.
But he came back with 7:21 left in the fourth and scored enough to surpass 50 — although he remained well shy of his career high of 60, set against San Antonio last April.
Celtics: Jaylen Brown scored 18 points with 10 rebounds. Tatum also had 10 rebounds.
Wizards: Assistant Pat Delany coached the Wizards for one game in Unseld’s absence before he also entered health and safety protocols. Then Joseph Blair coached the next three games. … Deni Avdija scored 13 points with seven rebounds.
Celtics: Host Sacramento on Tuesday night.
Wizards: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
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