Jayson Tatum Is Balling Out Like It’s February 2020 and COVID Didn’t Happen
Tatum averaged 30.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists, on 51.4% shooting from the field the month before the pandemic hit
On Sunday afternoon against Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Brooklyn Nets, Jayson Tatum was a one-man wrecking crew for the Boston Celtics.
In a comeback win for the C’s in front of a packed house at TD Garden, Tatum went for a season-high 54 points on 15-for-30 shooting with eight 3-pointers on 15 attempts from downtown. Of Tatum’s 54 points, 18 came in the fourth quarter and his total matched the combined scoring output of Durant and Irving in the game’s final frame.
“As a competitor night in, night out, but especially games like this, those matchups when you’re on one of the better teams in the league with two of the best guys, just as a competitor, these are the kinds of moments that as a kid, you dreamed about and looked forward to,” Tatum said after the game.
While not the top-scoring contest of 24-year-old Tatum’s young career (he had 60 points in an overtime win over the Spurs last April), Sunday’s performance was probably his best overall game as a pro.
“It’s impressive,’’ Celtics coach Ime Udoka said of Tatum. “At times you forget they all are out there. Taking that alpha approach to being the best guy on the court each night and that’s what’s needed against some of these high-level opponents. He takes pride in the matchups going against high-level guys and we’re not making it a one-on-one thing but he wants to play well and takes pride in it. Impressive for sure, but not unexpected.’’
Udoka is right on both counts as those who remember an impressive stretch of Tatum’s career just before the pandemic hit have seen him dominate this way before.
As a third-year NBA player in the month of February of 2020, Tatum averaged 30.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists, on 51.4% shooting from the field to go along with 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks in 36.5 minutes per game. While not quite as impressive on defense this month, Tatum is averaging 41.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists on 52.5% shooting in 39.7 minutes per game through three March contests.
Already 20th on the Celtics’ all-time scoring list and a lock to keep rising up the ranks, Tatum is playing like it’s the winter of 2020. If he can keep it up, the Celtics are going to be playing late into the spring of 2022 and possibly even into the summer.
Thanks for reading InsideHook. Sign up for our daily newsletter and be in the know.
Suggested for you