Jayson Tatum scored 31 points as the Boston Celtics put the depleted Brooklyn Nets firmly in their place with a brutal 139-96 mauling on Thursday (all times AEDT).
The heavyweight clash between the two Eastern Conference rivals ended with the Nets reeling on the ropes as the Celtics laid down a marker with an emphatic wire-to-wire victory at the TD Garden.
Boston dominated from the outset, running up a remarkable 46 points in the first quarter alone, with Tatum contributing 18 points.
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By half-time, the Celtics had raced into a 34-point lead against a Brooklyn side still missing the injured Kevin Durant.
Tatum’s 31-point haul included seven three-pointers from 12-of-19 shooting while Jaylen Brown provided…