Jayson Tatum scored his first 40+ game by scoring 41 points in their 140-105 destruction of expansion team New Orleans Pelicans last Saturday night. The young Celtic broke a three-game losing streak, the worst they've had so far this season.
According to Celtics coach Brad Stevens, giving the team a day off following its worst losing streak this season felt like the right thing to do. The Celtics lost to the Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs, and finally to rivals Philadelphia 76ers. Last Saturday, following the break, the re-energized Celtics totally crushed the Pelicans.
Four other Celtics finished with double-digit scores. Gordon Hayward had 19, Jaylen Brown added 13, Enes Kanter scored 22, and Kemba Walker, the player Celtics traded from the Charlotte Hornets during the last offseason, scored 17. Add in Tatum's 41 points, their total alone beats the Pelicans' total score.
The third-year forward is having a great season. Averaging 20.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists this year, it's a vast improvement from his 15.7 points, 6.0, and 2.1 assist record last season. According to USA Today, their amazing 140 point performance also tied them with the most points scored by a team this season.
Tatum is also the youngest Celtic to score over 40 points. In a team with the most championships in the NBA and with retired jerseys enough to fill the entire stadium, that is a big feat.
In a post-game interview, Tatum said.
"I never get too high or too low when I play well or if I don't. For me, I feel like I got a long way to go. And the guys I look up to, they have nights like this more often than not. ... I'm just gonna try to do it more often, be consistent, and continue to get better."
Those are great words from the young Celtic. There are a lot of young players in the past decade who broke scoring records early in their career and feel they are the best basketball player in the world. It's refreshing to hear a young player who knows that NBA greatness is a tough mountain to climb