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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cameron Tabatabaie

Celtics offense erupts as Boston grabs 130-121 victory against Washington

The Boston Celtics cruised to an easy 130-121 victory against the Washington Wizards at home Sunday evening, securing the club’s 12th win in 13 contests. Jaylen Brown led the way for the home team, ending the night with 36 points and 5 rebounds.

The Celtics were without Jayson Tatum, who is rehabbing a sprained ankle. Head coach Joe Mazzulla explained pregame there isn’t any lingering concern regarding the injury. In the end, Tatum’s absence proved a non-issue.  Shooting 16-for-34 from three as a team certainly helped.

Boston’s offense was particularly good, while the team held up admirably against Washington’s size down low. The Celtics now have another winning streak going, with a string of home games still to come this week. Here’s what you missed from Sunday’s action:

No Jayson Tatum? No problem

Jayson Tatum’s ankle injury doesn’t appear to be something to worry about long-term. Still, replacing a bonafide MVP candidate is easier said than done – Tatum is contributing 30.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game this season. The Celtics didn’t appear to miss a beat without their leading scorer Sunday evening.

Jaylen Brown did indeed lead the way, but really Boston as a collective was humming against the Wizards. Logging 25 assists on 44 made baskets helps underscore how effective the team was scoring the ball. Seven Celtics players scored in double-figures, though a little bit of carelessness down the stretch made things closer

The Celtics did miss some of Tatum’s rangy defense, and the Wizards made things closer than they needed to be at the end of the game. Boston’s explosive offensive performance more than neutralized any concerns, however.

No Robert Williams? No problem

Robert Williams has yet to step on the court for the Celtics this season, but you wouldn’t necessarily know Boston was without the club’s top defensive big man against Washington. Williams, who will return to action sooner rather than later, comfortably led the team in rebounding and in blocks last year. Regardless, the Celts handily out-rebounded the Wizards 36 to 28.

Grant Williams and Al Horford have played admirably in Williams’ absence. Ditto Luke Kornet, who has been one of the biggest surprises for the Celtics this season. (In fact, because Kornet has been a reasonable lob threat, introducing Robert Williams back into the fold may actually not change Boston’s offensive geometry all that radically.)

It's still early

The Celtics moonwalked their way to an emphatic win against a reasonably formidable foe Sunday evening. Joking aside, doing so without both Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams is a reminder of how deep this Boston team is.

By the same token, we still have a lot to learn about who these Celtics are. Bringing Williams back into the fold will take some massaging. It’s unclear if Tatum can maintain his MVP campaign. As president of basketball operations Brad Stevens noted pre-game, there’s still a lot of basketball to play.

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