New Orleans played without Derrick Favors because a right hamstring strain, Jrue Holiday sat his fourth straight game with a left elbow contusion, Kenrich Williams missed his third consecutive game with back soreness and J.J. Redick sat with a left hamstring strain.
Hayes and E’Twaun Moore started in place of Williams and Favors.
The Celtics exploited the absences early. Tatum was active from a variety of spots on the floor, connecting on eight of his first nine shots. He scored 22 points in the the first half to help the Celtics build as much as a 22-point lead.
Pelicans: Were outscored 74-42 in the paint. … Shot 35 percent (9 of 26) with five turnovers in the first quarter.
Celtics: Tatum reached double figures for the 28th consecutive game, extending a career high. It was his fifth career game with at least 30 points. … Set a new season high for points in a quarter with 41 in the first period. It surpassed the 39 points they scored in the first quarter of their Nov. 9 win over Spurs. The 72 first-half points tied a season high.
Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson was again on the floor for some pregame work, this time participating in some light 3-on-3 with teammates.
Coach Alvin Gentry says the No. 1 overall pick continues to make progress.
“The problem we’ve had is that we haven’t had an opportunity to practice,” Gentry said. “We practiced before we left and basically on this trip, we have no days to practice. He does some development workouts and things like that. … There will come a time when we stick him out to play but we don’t have an exact date.”
Pelicans: Conclude three-game road trip at Detroit on Monday.
Celtics: Host the Bulls on Monday.
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