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Pace and space fueled a fast start for the Celtics in Monday night's matchup at the Moda Center. That combination allowed Boston to live in the paint and consistently create quality looks against a below-average defense. 

The visitors put 37 points on the board in the first frame, generating 16 in the paint, shooting 55.6 percent from the field, including 6/12 from beyond the arc. 

Even when they missed, they were often well-positioned to clean up their initial attempt, producing seven second-chance points. Only committing one turnover also helped them dictate the terms of play.

The Celtics sustained that approach in the second quarter. Payton Pritchard, who got the start in his hometown, consistently pushed the tempo, snaked his way into the paint, and repeatedly got Luke Kornet points at the rim out of the pick-and-roll.

The former West Linn High School star helped the C's manufacture 18 points in the paint in the second period, giving them 34 in the first 24 minutes and an 11-0 advantage in fast-break scoring in the 12 before halftime.

He entered intermission with seven points, four assists, and four rebounds.

Boston, who had only one giveaway in the first half and shot 50.9 percent from the floor, led 66-52 at the break. 

Jaylen Brown, frequently bullying his way to the cup, had 17 points at the end of the first half, pacing all participants. Jayson Tatum scored 12 and dished out six assists.

The visitors could've built an even larger edge, but DeAndre Ayton repeatedly capitalized on open mid-range looks, putting 14 points on the board by halftime. Anfernee Simons had 13, converting on 3/7 three-point attempts.

The Celtics shot 7/15 in the paint in the third quarter, and their misses around the basket helped fuel the hosts' offense. The Trail Blazers manufactured 16 of their 23 points in the period from the same area on the floor Boston missed eight attempts from.

Matisse Thybulle's activity on defense, including two blocks, helped Portland play its best defense of the first three frames, limiting the visitors to 38.5 percent shooting from the field. 

Thankfully for the C's, Tatum put ten points on the board, including two at the free-throw line after Al Horford went all out for a rejection off two feet. There was also Brown feeding the five-time All-Star on a behind-the-back dish on a four-on-one fast break off a long rebound.

Plays like that helped Boston take an 88-75 lead into the fourth quarter.

And with Derrick White and Horford making life difficult for Portland at the rim, including the former swatting an Ayton attempt, and Sam Hauser erupting for 12 points at the other end, the Celtics took care of business early.

Hauser finished with a season-high 22 points on 8/12 shooting, including faring 6/10 from beyond the arc. He outscored every Trail Blazers starter but Ayton.

Boston committed only 11 fouls and three turnovers in Monday's 121-99 victory, the lowest combination of the two by any team this season, per Stat Muse.

Playing a clean game helped the visitors dominate on the margins. So did the pace and space they operated with throughout the night. That fueled them shooting 15/40 (37.5 percent) from three-point range and producing 60 points in the paint.

The Celtics also assisted on 34/49 field goals, forced 11 giveaways, and built a 23-6 edge in fast-break scoring and a 19-4 advantage in points off turnovers.

Boston got a game-high 27 points from Jaylen Brown, who relentlessly attacked the rim and also chipped in six rebounds and five assists.

Jayson Tatum contributed 26 points, plus eight assists, matching Payton Pritchard and Scoot Henderson for the most in the matchup, and five rebounds.

Speaking of Pritchard, the former Oregon Duck nearly notched a triple-double, finishing with 11 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds in his homecoming.

After securing their 50th win this season, the Celtics end their five-game road trip Tuesday night against the Utah Jazz. That matchup will tip off at 9:00 EST.

Further Reading

Jayson Tatum Plays Entire Second Half vs. Suns: 'Don't Really Say That Many Times'

Jaylen Brown's Evolution Crucial to Celtics' Desire to Win with More Than Talent

Celtics Embracing Challenge to Go Beyond Most Talented

Jayson Tatum Opens Up About Sacrificing in Celtics' Title Pursuit: 'It's a Process'

Brad Stevens Discusses Celtics' Plan for Final Roster Spot

Marcus Smart Shares How Boston Shaped Him, His Message to Celtics Fans

Celtics Maturation Molded by Experience: 'It Builds, Like, an Armor'

Jaylen Brown Quieting Doubters, Validating What He Always Believed: 'Earn Everybody's Trust'

Joe Mazzulla Discusses Identity, Evolution of Celtics' Offense: 'Balance of Pace and Execution'