The Boston Celtics needed a jolt to snap them out of their recent woes.
Jaylen Brown delivered it as the Celtics found their shooting touch, knocking down 23 3-pointers in a 112-96 home victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday that snapped a three-game skid.
The Celtics, who had lost four of five games since the All-Star break before beating Orlando, will try to keep the positive momentum going when they travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies on Monday night. It will be the first of a four-game, three-city road trip.
“It takes teams time,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “Sometimes it comes quick. Sometimes it comes at different stages in the season, and some teams never get it. The goal is to find your best version.”
Boston’s 3-point total fell one short of the franchise’s single-game record. The Celtics made 23 of 54 attempts from distance (42.6 percent).
Brown made a career-high 10 3-pointers on 18 attempts, shot 12 of 24 overall, and finished with 34 points. Jayson Tatum scored 23 points and shot 5 of 8 from three. Brown came up one short of teammate Marcus Smart’s single-game franchise-record of 11.
“I lost count at some point,” Brown said. “I wish somebody would have told me that. I would have fired up five, six more to make sure I beat Marcus.”
The Grizzlies, who will wrap up a four-game homestand against Boston, are coming off a 111-103 home victory over the Golden State Warriors to secure a two-game split in two days. Memphis has won two of its past three games after losing three in a row.
Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and 15 rebounds and Dillon Brooks also scored 19 points. Brandon Clarke also had 16 points.
Ja Morant scored six of his 14 points during a 14-3 Memphis run to close out the game and also had eight assists.
Memphis actually shot worse (38.9 percent) than it did the previous night (46.4 percent) during its 116-103 loss to the Warriors.
“I think the basic learning opportunity is how you’ve got to handle your business,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “Coming out every single night and you have to do it together.”
Morant persevered through his recent shooting struggles to make clutch plays down the stretch that led to victory. Morant tipped in his own miss with 50.9 seconds left and later connected on a pair of free throws with 20.7 seconds to help put the game away.
“I felt like I was a terrible leader out there,” Morant said. “I felt our guys as a team, we wasn’t together. It wasn’t a lot of talk out there. You play like that, that’s what happens.”
The Celtics again played without Tristan Thompson and Romeo Langford due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
Smart finished with 11 points and eight assists against Orlando and played 33 minutes for the second consecutive game after being on a minutes restriction in prior games following his return from a left calf strain.
Kemba Walker appeared to hurt his left knee during the game, but returned during the fourth quarter.
–Field Level Media