Kristaps Porzingis wasted no time making Boston Celtics history.
Porzingis racked up 30 points, the most by a player in his Celtics debut, and took over in the waning moments of the fourth quarter to lift Boston to a 108-104 victory against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
The Celtics led by as much as 12 in the third quarter, but New York stormed back, going up 101-95 with 3:39 left in the fourth thanks to a floater from Jalen Brunson. Jrue Holiday then converted a layup to pull Boston within four, setting the stage for Porzingis to take over.
After canning four free throws to knot things at 101-101, Porzingis drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:29 remaining. He also sank two more foul shots down the stretch to help the Celtics hang on and improve to 1-0.
While it was Porzingis and his late-game heroics that ended up stealing the show, there was still a lot to pick out from Boston's first 48 minutes of the season -- and not all of it was good by any means.
A lot is bound to change over the next 81-plus games, but based purely off Wednesday's performance, let's take a look at what the win over the Knicks told us:
Jayson Tatum is the MVP
Even with the additions of Porzingis and Holiday, make no mistake about it -- this is still very much Tatum's team.
Tatum made that clear on Wednesday, pouring in 34 points on 13-for-22 shooting from the field. He also supplied 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block while scoring from all three levels, and doing so with ease.
Over the past two seasons, Tatum has really inserted himself into the MVP conversation, but inconsistency on the offensive end has ultimately been what hinders his chances of bringing home any hardware. A lot of that stems from an overreliance on his outside game, as Tatum started to shy away from the mid-range jumper and often neglected to muscle his way into the paint.
But Tatum bulked up for this season, and against New York, he truly was a three-pronged offensive threat. In addition to scoring from beyond the arc in isolation situations, Tatum was also going to work just outside the painted area and was willing to drive to the basket.
And it was all working.
Assuming the playmaking, rebounding and defense are all still there, if this is the type of offensive skill set that Tatum is rocking with this season, the title of MVP is his to lose.