On Thursday, a four game home stand began when the 76ers came into Boston. Philly was promptly sent packing by Kyrie Irving’s 36 points in a 108-97 Celtics win. Al Horford added 21 for the Celtics while Dario Saric lead the way for Philadelphia with 18.
A Saturday matchup with the Suns was up next, and the Celtics walked away with a 116-111 victory. A balanced offensive game was led by 19 points from Irving and 17 from Jaylen Brown. Devin Booker had 38 points for the Suns.
The Celtics then hosted the Bucks, and won 111-100 despite 40 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Irving and Horford combined for 52 points in the win.
To wrap up the homestand, the Celtics hosted the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night. The 97-90 win was led by 23 points from Irving and 17 from Horford and Jayson Tatum. Harrison Barnes had 19 points for Dallas.
Semi Ojeleye defensive standout
Rookie Semi Ojeleye was drafted out of SMU in this past year’s draft because of his defensive prowess, and he is proving that he can translate that to the NBA level. Strong defense has allowed the six-foot-seven forward to play in almost every game for the Celtics this year.
“I think he can be elite defensively,” coach Brad Stevens said before the matchup against the Bucks. “I’m not sure he’s far from it now. He’s able to guard one through five [positions]. He guarded [Phoenix’ Devin] Booker for a couple of possessions [Saturday] and I was kicking myself for not trying it earlier.”
Jayson Tatum shines in the fourth
Rookie Jayson Tatum has made a clear impact for the Celtics this year, including in the most important moments of the game.
Crunch time is usually where the veterans take over, poised and with experience, but Tatum has shown to be beyond his years in the closing minutes. He is averaging 4.4 points per fourth quarter, second to only Kyrie Irving on the team. When the game is within five points with less than five minutes left, he’s even better – he shoot just over 63% from the floor.
“Especially for a rookie coming in, that’s been special,” Jaylen Brown said of Tatum. “I feel like him and Kyrie, they kinda get going in the fourth quarter. We need those plays at the end. They’re tough shot-makers and have the ability to score like the top percentile of the league so, when they get going, it’s hard to stop them.”
Next 7 days at a glance
Friday, Dec. 8 at 9:30 pm @ San Antonio Spurs
Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2:00 pm @ Detroit Pistons
Monday, Dec. 11 at 8:00 pm @ Chicago Bulls
Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 pm vs Denver Nuggets