NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Kyrie Irving closed out a 26-point, 10-assist performance with a 3-pointer and a tough baseline fade over Anthony Davis, and the Boston Celtics pulled away late for a 124-107 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.
Jayson Tatum, who scored 20, threw down a right-handed dunk while being fouled by Davis with 2:26 left, at which point Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry began subbing out starters and fans started filing out, resigned to just New Orleans’ second loss in 10 home games this season.
Davis finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks, Nikola Mirotic hit six 3s as part of his 25 points, and Julius Randle added 15 points from the bench, but that wasn’t enough to end what is now a four-game losing streak for New Orleans.
Al Horford scored 20 points, and Marcus Morris had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Boston, which punished the Pelicans for their 22 turnovers, converting them into 32 points.
The Celtics opened up their largest lead with an 11-0 run that began with three straight three-point possessions: Irving’s floater in the lane as he was fouled, Irving’s 3-pointer and Tatum’s driving layup while being fouled.
Terry Rozier’s layup capped the burst and made it 80-60 midway through the third quarter.
Soon after, Randle’s free throws and Darius Miller’s 3 ignited an 11-2 Pelicans run to close the period, trimming Boston’s lead to 10 heading to the fourth.
Davis scored five straight points on a short fade as he was fouled and a pair of free throws to cut it to 93-87 with nearly nine minutes to play.
But Boston never let it get closer than that.
New Orleans trailed nearly the entire game, falling behind early because of eight first-quarter turnovers that led to 11 Celtics points. Jrue Holiday, playing point guard instead of shooting guard while Elfrid Payton sits out with a broken finger, turned ball over five times in the opening period.
Celtics: Rozier scored 14 points. He also was assessed a technical foul in the second quarter after he tossed the ball aimlessly during a stoppage. … Boston outscored New Orleans 42-34 in the paint. … The Celtics put up 39 3s, hitting 19.
Pelicans: Holiday scored 13 points but also finished with eight turnovers. … Coach Alvin Gentry foreshadowed a change in the rotation before the game and forward Solomon Hill saw action for the first time since Nov. 1. He’d been relegated to the end of the bench for 12 games without playing time before his 20 minutes against Boston. He had four rebounds, two points and an assist. … New Orleans was 27 of 29 on three throws, but went 12 of 32 from 3.
Celtics host Cleveland on Friday night.
Pelicans host Washington on Wednesday night.