Jayson Tatum’s three-point shooting – or lack thereof – has been a topic of conversation among Celtics fans of late. It’s far from the only thing that’s been wrong with the Green, who came into Sunday’s matinée against the Wizards a game under .500, but the All-Star’s recent 0-for-20 skid from deep was convenient fodder.
The water cooler vibe should be much different on Monday. Sure, Tom Brady’s name will be at the tip of the tongue, but we can also add in Tatum’s classic 51-point performance from a 116-87 Celtics win.
Tatum started Sunday’s tilt by drilling a three. He got to the bucket at will, hit a couple more triples, and finished the opening frame with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting (3-of-3 from downtown). The Celtics had a six-point lead after 12 minutes and while the Wizards would get within a single point in the second quarter, the Jayson Tatum Show would far eclipse anything Bradley Beal and the home team could muster.
Tatum had 31 at the break as his team scored 14 consecutive points and the Boston lead swelled to 60-45.
The Duke product did it all with startling efficiency, as he shot 18-of-28 (9-of-14 from deep) for the game, pulling down 10 rebounds and dishing out seven assists for good measure. He’d pour in 17 more in the third quarter before taking a seat, then checked back into the contest with a little over seven minutes remaining. The C’s would struggle to push their star over the 50-point mark, with Tatum missing five consecutive shots, but he broke the barrier on a drive to the rack with 4:38 left.
Tatum’s performance is the 12th 50-point game in team history. Jaylen Brown had one earlier this month, and just Brown, Tatum, Isaiah Thomas and Paul Pierce have hit the mark since Larry Bird’s retirement three decades ago.
Only Brown (18 points and 10 rebounds on 5-of-18 shooting) and Marcus Smart (11 points) needed to join Tatum in double figures. Smart registered six dimes and four steals, while Robert Williams ripped down eight boards and swatted two shots in the blowout.
The 29-point margin was Boston’s biggest win of the year.
Washington was led by Beal with 19 points, five rebounds and seven assists, but shot just 7-for-17 from the field.
Boston is back to .500 with the win at 24-24. The Wizards slipped a game behind Boston in the Eastern Conference playoff pile, now 23-24 on the season.
The Celtics get a couple nights off to prepare for Tuesday’s matchup with the Kings in Sacramento back at TD Garden. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. with the opening tip just after 7:30 on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Sean Sylver can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Talk hoops with him on Twitter @TheSylverFox.