BOSTON — To tie a record that has stood for 66 years, it took this year’s iteration of the Boston Celtics around the first 66 seconds of Friday’s game time to emphatically link the league’s best team with the squad that started the obsession of counting the banners raised inside the building that houses the famous parquet flooring.
Boston made its first four shots from the field in scoring the game’s first 10 points, eventually opening up a lead as much as 36 points in the Celtics’ 126-97 victory over the Utah Jazz inside TD Garden on Friday. Each of the Celtics’ starters sat out the entire fourth quarter, allowing all of them to savor the team’s 17th consecutive victory at home to start the season, tying the 1957-58 Boston Celtics — the franchise’s first NBA champion — for the longest home winning streak to begin a campaign in club history.
Dating back to last season, the Celtics’ winning streak at TD Garden in the regular season now stands at 23 games.
Jayson Tatum led six Celtics in double figures in scoring with 30 points, with Kristaps Porzingis adding 19. Boston held the Jazz to just 5-of-27 shooting (18.5 percent) from the floor in the first quarter, and its lead did not fall below 25 points after Tatum made three free throws at the 9:32 mark of the second to give the Celtics a 40-15 advantage.
The Celtics’ 126 points tied the franchise record for consecutive games scoring at least 120 points, matching the 1959-60 team, the franchise’s third NBA champion, who accomplished the feat from February 3-16 of 1960. The last of those nine wins back in 1960 came against the Minneapolis Lakers, and, next week, the Celtics will have the opportunity to break the record for most consecutive home wins to start a season next Wednesday against the Lakers’ successor in the Twin Cities, the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves.
In the immediate future, Boston can set a new franchise record for most games with 120-plus points scored tomorrow evening on the road against the Indiana Pacers, the team who leads the league in scoring and who just dropped 150 points in a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. Porzingis offered a poignant, yet blunt, reason why the Celtics continue to be a machine on the offensive end.
“I think it’s just the talent, honestly,” Porzingis said. “Us settling in a little bit to our roles and into our ways of playing. And we’re just that talented to be honest. Tonight they were doubling JT (Tatum) and he was willing to make the right pass and the right play. That’s an automatic, huge advantage for us.”
Lauri Markkanen had 17 points to lead the Jazz, who had won six of their last seven games and had their three-game winning streak snapped tonight. Their daunting road trip out east continues tomorrow evening in Philadelphia, against the 23-11 Sixers. On Monday, Utah ends the trip facing the third of the three teams that occupy the top spots in the Eastern Conference, the 25-10 Milwaukee Bucks.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Boston-area photographer Erica Denhoff. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 31 pictures in total.