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Celtics reach 50 wins for third consecutive season with easy victory over Blazers

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While the Celtics built the NBA’s most lethal starting five last summer, they faced questions about their bench. Their trade for Jrue Holiday on the eve of training camp was a hit to their talented depth, and they were briefly reminded of that Monday night in Portland as they visited old friends Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams, who are both out due to injury.

But despite any outside concerns about their bench, the C’s maintained strong belief in who remained. And as they’ve soared to the top of the league standings this season, that depth has played a big role.

The latest example came Monday. With Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis both sidelined, the Celtics didn’t miss a beat. Payton Pritchard stepped into the starting lineup with a strong effort, Sam Hauser shot the lights out, and the Celtics rolled with ease for a 121-99 victory over the inferior Blazers.

Jaylen Brown led the way with 27 points and Jayson Tatum added 26 points as the Celtics’ stars shouldered the scoring burden but Boston’s reserves carried this victory to the finish line. Pritchard, in his first start of the season, had a near triple-double with 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Hauser had 22 points on six 3-pointers. The Celtics got contributions up and down their roster as they handled the Blazers for this stress-free victory.

The Celtics became the first team in the NBA this season to reach 50 wins. It marked the third consecutive season they’ve hit that win total.

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