Time and time again, the Boston Celtics have looked to Jayson tatum for much needed buckets and victories.
Friday night in Boston, Tatum delivered both.
The young superstar came out on top in Game 3, scoring 50 points as the Boston Celtics beat the Brooklyn Nets 125-119.
There was plenty of help to be done too, as the Celtics reduced the Nets’ streak to 2 games to 1. Every Boston player who played contributed at one point or another throughout the victory. Maximum effort on all fronts has been issued and although some of them do not appear in the box score, every player is to be applauded.
And it’s Tatum who tops the list as the congratulations are split.
Boston Celtics and the Jayson Tatum Show
Dejected 19-4 in the first four minutes of the match, a gloom set in. The immediate thoughts of it will be “one of those nights” churning in the heart.
Turns out it was, except it wasn’t in the way indicated by the initial score.
More than Chowder and Champions
It was a night that belonged to Tatum, another in his long list of individual accomplishments during his young career.
Tatum hit punches early on, with a combination of jumping kicks and punches in the paint leading the way. He was more locked up than the previous two games and only grew bigger as the game went on.
In the third quarter, Tatum took over, scoring 19 points. Boston always got him in desired clashes, something desperately lacking in Games 1 and 2. And when he couldn’t find a path to an open basket, he found open teammates who responded with big punches.
By scoring 50 points, Tatum became the third youngest player to make it in the playoffs, behind Rick barry and Michael jordan. Tatum did so by shooting 16-30 from the field and 13-15 from the free throw line. He also distributed seven assists and got six rebounds.
Tatum performed as his all-star himself on Friday, but it was also the game inspired by Tristan thompson and his teammates who led Boston to victory.
Boston Celtics: Offensive rebound eater
From the start of Game 3, Thompson brought in the exact energy and physique the Celtics signed him for. A thorn in Boston’s side during his time with the The Cleveland Cavaliers, Thompson did just that in Brooklyn.
Thompson had one of his best games as a member of the Celtics, finishing with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Nine of those boards came from the offensive end and a few of those setbacks were thunderous dunks of screen-and-roll action. (A very nice ride where the big men who placed the screens on top of the key would make a screen facing the basket and then immediately dive into the alley.)
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Thompson was not the only big contributor. Marcus Intelligent continued to find ways to shoot some huge shots in this playoff round, scoring 23 points on an 8-11 shot. While there were still occasional mental lapses – breaking boundaries on the sidelines, once again – Smart showed his veteran leadership and defensive prowess.
Evan Fournier also regained his stroke, scoring 17 and reversing a convenient three runs in the fourth quarter.
There have been struggles of Kemba walker shoot the ball, but his energy sometimes keeps this Boston team going. And he found other ways to contribute, picking up eight rebounds.
Even the bench, even though it only scored 10 points, found ways to influence the game.
One wonders if Boston emptied the tank for the victory of the third game. The starters have played a lot of minutes and Walker will need to find the score column if a Game 4 win is in the cards. For now, it’s time to enjoy Tatum’s game. It may take more performances like this from him for the Celtics to pull off a shaken streak. If we learned anything in Game 3, however, it’s not yet time to overlook the Boston Celtics.