Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is defended by Jae’Sean Tate of the Rockets during Sunday’s game in Houston. Tatum scored 31 points in a 107-97 victory. Michael Wyke/Associated Press

HOUSTON — Jayson Tatum had 31 points and nine rebounds and the Boston Celtics avoided their first 0-3 start since the 2013-14 season with a 107-97 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.

Tatum, had 20 points in the first half on 8-of-13 shooting. Al Horford finished with 17 points, including 11 in the third quarter, and 10 rebounds.

Following a 115-83 blowout loss to Toronto on Friday, Tatum said he thought the team responded well.

“I wish we could have cleaned up a couple things,” Tatum said. “I think we gave them too much life at the end when we had that lead. It’s tough to win in this league. Just to get that first one of the season, I hope we can build off it.”

Dennis Schröder, who started for the injured Jaylen Brown, finished with 18 points, and Grant Williams added 18 points off the bench. Boston shot 44% from the field and hit 15 of 47 3-pointers.

Boston Coach Ime Udoka said he received a water shower and was presented with the game ball following his first win as a coach.

“It’s special,” Udoka said. “I told them it was overdue and ‘You guys took too long to get it’. … It’s good to get it, not just for the first, but to kind of get us rolling on the right foot. I think we played the right way tonight, defended how we could after that first quarter.”

Second overall pick Jalen Green scored 30 points and broke Houston’s rookie record for 3-pointers in a game, making 8 of 10.

“I’m not trying to force anything,” Green said. “Obviously, I want to win over anything, and if that’s me going to get 30 or 9 or 15 or 20, I will do whatever it takes.”

“He’s talented obviously, and he was putting a lot of pressure on himself to produce and succeed and all of that,” Houston Coach Stephen Silas said of Green. “It seems like tonight he didn’t put as much pressure on himself. He just played.”

Christian Wood had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Kevin Porter Jr. added 15 points for Houston, which shot 43% and made 14 of 32 3-pointers.

Boston held a 38-32 advantage in points in the paint and a 43-40 advantage in rebounds.

After Houston knotted it at 55 on a layup by Green two minutes into the third, Boston went on a 10-0 spurt started with four straight points by Horford and capped by a Tatum 3-pointer.

The Rockets responded with five straight points to cut the lead in half, but Boston went on a 24-9 run to open the lead to 20 on a three-point play by Horford with 1½ minutes left in the third.

“We started getting more stops (in the second half),” Tatum said. “We were more locked in on the defensive end. They made some plays in that first half, hit some shots, but we stuck it, were dialed in and figured it out.”


Celtics: Boston committed 12 turnovers and forced Houston into 20 turnovers, which the Celtics turned into 28 points.

Rockets: Jae’Sean Tate had 12 points and eight rebounds. … Houston’s bench was outscored 31-14.


Brown was out of the lineup because of left patella tendinopathy. Udoka said Brown’s injury was something he dealt with last season, causing him to miss a few games.

“We just want to be cautious with it,” Udoka said. “We have a back-to-back coming up, give him an extra day of rest and hopefully, he will be good to go tomorrow.”

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