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Tatum scores 38 and Celtics use 20-0 run to get past Jazz 123-107

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 38 points and Derrick White added 24 to lead the Boston Celtics to a 123-107 win over the struggling Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.

The Celtics were missing rotation players Jaylen Brown (back), Kristaps Porzingis (hamstring) and Al Horford (toe) but shot so well it didn’t matter much.

“The law of averages, you play so many games you won’t be perfect every night. You have to stick with it and trust that you’re going to have more good days than bad,” Tatum said about the Celtics shooting 40.8% from 3-point range.

Jrue Holiday scored 16 points and Sam Hauser had 14 as the Celtics made 20 3-pointers and outscored the Jazz on second-chance points, 22-8.

“We won that battle on the boards and we needed to,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said

Keyonte George scored 14 of his 26 points in the first quarter, Jordan Clarkson tallied 21 and Collin Sexton had 20 for Utah, which has dropped 11 of its last 13 games.

The Jazz played without leading scorer Lauri Markkanen (thigh) and Taylor Hendricks (toe).

Clarkson sparked an 11-3 run in the third quarter to draw the Jazz within two after trailing by double-digits much of the game.

But the Celtics responded with 20 straight points. Holiday made back-to-back 3-pointers to extend their lead to 113-91 with 6:28 to play.

“We have a lot of elite defenders and a lot of guys that are competing on both sides of the ball. When you have guys doing things like that, tt just drives you to compete more defensively it’s just a lot of fun,” White said.

Boston forced 12 straight empty possessions by the Jazz to take back control of the game, mostly without Tatum.

“We have a lot of fight in us,” George said. “But (Boston) was hitting shots. We got stagnant a little bit and the ball wasn’t going in the hoop.”

The Celtics finished their five-game road trip strong with three straight wins. They also improved their record on second games of back-to-back sets to an impressive 9-2.

“I think the last game of a road trip is always important. This was a big win, we lost here last year, and a lot of guys got some minutes tonight and stepped up big,” Tatum said.

The Celtics, who became the first team in the NBA to reach 50 wins on Monday, turned up their defensive pressure whenever the Jazz closed the gap.

“It's very much frustrating especially when you’re trying to play defense,” Sexton said about Utah's big drought.

Injuries on both sides necessitated some rarely seen lineups of two-way contract holders and end-of-the-bench players.

Utah even defended Tatum with the 6-foot-1 Sexton for stretches in the second half.

Led by White and Houser hitting four 3s each, the Celtics made 14 shots from beyond the arc in the first half to surge to a 72-57 lead at the half.

“You always want to get off to a good start. Obviously, when you’re hitting 3s it looks good,” White said.

White finished with seven 3s after his father urged him to not think twice about shooting.

“He said something about last game my 3s were looking better, so I told him I'm just going to let it fly and that's just what my mindset was,” White said.

Hauser is taking advantage of his recent opportunities with a season-high 22 at Portland Monday and 14 against the Jazz.

“We have a culture where it doesn't matter who is in, guys are ready to play,” Mazzulla said. “I have no hesitancy putting any one of those guys in at any time.”

UP NEXT

Celtics: Host Phoenix on Thursday night.

Jazz: Host Hawks on Friday night.