By BRETT MARTEL (AP Sports Writer)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics are trying to remain mindful of the things they could be doing better as they continue to vanquish one opponent after another.
Brown had 27 points and 10 rebounds, Derrick White highlighted a 26-point performance with six 3-pointers, and the Boston Celtics beat the New Orleans Pelicans 117-109 on Friday night for their ninth straight win.
“We can’t try to look too far ahead and forget about the details that need to be taken care of right in front of us,” Brown said. “We can’t take if for granted and get excited. Every day counts. Every game game counts. We’ve got to continue to find ways to win. Tonight, we had some rough patches but it was a good example of still finding a way to get a W.”
Jayson Tatum had 19 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who combined to make 20 3s and shot 48.2% (41 of 85) overall. Al Horford was 4 of 5 from deep and scored 18 for Boston, which led by double digits for much of the game and by as many as 19.
Brandon Ingram hit season-high five 3s and scored 25 for New Orleans, which was playing without star power forward Zion Williamson (bruised right foot) for a third straight game. The Pelicans lost for the first time in four games.
“Give Boston credit. They’re physical. They cut and move hard when it’s time to do it and they make shots,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “There’s a ton of areas that we can get better at. We know it.”
CJ McCollum scored 18 points and Herb Jones added 17 for New Orleans, which clawed back within striking distance when Ingram’s 3 made it 105-97 with 3:54 to go. But Boston responded with a feisty sequence in which Horford rebounded Tatum’s missed 3, and then Brown rebounded two of his own misses before converting a putback.
New Orleans never got closer than seven points after that.
“We came out well, got out to an early lead, kind of took our foot off the gas a little bit,” Brown said. “We were still able to win, but that’s something that we got to be better at.”
Boston got off to a blazing start, hitting 10 times from deep in the first quarter — tying a franchise record for made 3s in a quarter — to take a 40-25 lead. Horford was 4 for 4 on 3s in the opening quarter.
“The first quarter they knocked us on our heels right away and it was an uphill battle from there,” Green said. “I don’t think we had a sense of urgency of how quick, how well they drive and kick to each other, and catch and shoot.”
Boston led by as many as 18 in the second quarter when Brogdon’s 3 made it 43-25. But McCollum scored seven points in the Pelicans’ 17-4 run to briefly cut it to 47-42.
Boston built its lead back up to 14 before Ingram’s jumper and McCollum’s short floater in the lane made it 67-57 at halftime.
Celtics: Made all nine of their free throws. … Outrebounded New Orleans 35-29. … Converted 11 Pelicans turnovers into 20 points.
Pelicans: Trey Murphy came out of the game and left the court with trainers in the second quarter with a sore right foot and did not return. … Finished 9 for 23 from 3-point range. … Outscored Boston 38-24 in the paint.
Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla elected not to call timeout during the Pelicans’ mid-fourth-quarter run that cut Boston’s lead to single digits.
“In order for us to be a great team we have to handle those situations, we’ve got to build awareness,” Mazzulla said.
“Our guys are very intentional about studying the game and they talk a lot about situational basketball. Usually, when you have to call timeout it’s because you’re not doing something you’re supposed to be doing,” the coach continued. “The lesson that we learned today was our guys kept their poise and made the right play and got the stops when they needed to and executed when they needed to. So, I’d rather watch that.”
Celtics: At Chicago on Monday night.
Pelicans: Host Golden State on Monday night.
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