Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum sensational in spectacular week

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /

After defeating the Brooklyn Nets with ease in their last two meetings, the Boston Celtics finally faced a (nearly) complete Nets squad.

The Celtics did not back down, responding with one of their best games of the season, led by a spectacular performance from Jayson Tatum. Tatum had 54 points — besting his 51 scored against the Washington Wizards earlier this season — in powering the Celtics to a 126-120 victory over the Nets.

The victory capped a nice 3-0 stretch after losing to the Indiana Pacers on February 27. It was a week that Tatum had his full arsenal on display.

Jayson Tatum hoisting the Boston Celtics on his shoulders

Tatum’s output on Sunday was the fourth-time in his career that he scored 50 or more points in a regular season game. This ties him with Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird in becoming the only players in franchise history to achieve this feat four times.

Against the Nets, Tatum was aggressive all game long. He knocked down threes (8-15) and drove to the hoop with equal aplomb. Tatum was brilliant in both the open court and creating one-on-one matchups, feeding off the Boston crowd the entire game. He was also solid on defense too, as he continues to evolve on that end of the court.

Related Story. Celtics news: Tatum goes big on birthday. light

The 54 points capped off a marvelous three-game stretch in which Tatum averaged 41.3 points. It began with a 33 point, eight rebound, seven assist performance against the Atlanta Hawks, where the Celtics battled back from a 14-point halftime deficit to win by nine.

Tatum was just as good against the Memphis Grizzlies on his birthday. Tatum had 37 points, including a monster fourth quarter, in the 13-point victory. His performance was needed, as the Celtics played this one without Jaylen Brown, who was out after he suffered an ankle injury in the game against the Hawks.

A solid week showed that last Sunday’s loss to the Pacers was more of an anomaly than anything. And it showed some true grit from this Celtics team, who continue to not let these suddenly sporadic losses get them down.

Playing at a high level, Tatum continues to impress and hopes to keep that momentum going in the Celtics upcoming slate of games.

Boston Celtics: The week ahead

The Celtics are 4-3 in 2021-22 against their next three opponents. All three of those losses, however, were played without at least one player from their normal starting lineup.

Marcus Smart, who had 14 points and nine assists against the Nets to continue his contribution to Boston’s resurgence, missed two games. Brown was out for one of those losses.

Boston gets a few days rest before facing off with the Charlotte Hornets on the road on Wednesday (3/9). The Celtics are 2-1 against the Hornets, winning by 11 and six while losing by nine, a game in which Smart missed.

It was in early February and prior to the trade deadline when these teams last met, a Boston victory. The two teams have gone in different directions since that meeting a little over a month ago. Boston was two games back of Charlotte at that point but the Hornets have fallen to eighth in the Eastern Conference as of late.

Next up, the Celtics host the Detroit Pistons on March 11. Boston is 2-1 against the Pistons but have had their struggles with this young Detroit squad. Smart was absent in that loss, too.

On Sunday March 13, the Celtics host the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas defeated Boston 107-104 in that early November matchup, a game that Brown missed. Tatum had one of his better early-season performances that game, scoring 32 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Dallas has had quite the run as of late, too. Heading into the week, the Mavericks are 8-2 in their last 10 games.

Next. Boston Celtics: 'Winning breeds confidence', title odds rise. dark

Sixteen games remain for the Celtics in the regular season. At 39-27, they are 4.5 games back from the top spot, with an important four-game road trip looming on the horizon. A perfect upcoming week would go a long way in cementing Boston’s status as a top-five team in the East. And with Tatum showcasing all his skills, there’s really nothing that can’t be done for this Boston team, including hopefully raising banner number 18 to the rafters.