There was really only one thing that went wrong for the Boston Celtics as it picked up a second consecutive blowout win by dismantling the Memphis Grizzlies, 119-95, on Wednesday night at the TD Garden.
It came just over the midpoint of the third quarter on a Jayson Tatum drive to the hoop as he came up lame after his shot attempt. Tatum limped off toward the locker room after the play and was diagnosed with a right groin strain. Tatum did not return to the game, but still scored a game-high 23 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists despite departing early.
Here's the play where Tatum was injured pic.twitter.com/gAZK7EjpBB— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) January 23, 2020
Celtics coach Brad Stevens didn’t give much insight into Tatum’s injury after the game, but he didn’t believe the ailment would keep Tatum out for significant time.
“It didn’t sound like it was too bad,” Stevens said. “I’m not too concerned about it.”
Tatum may have suffered a right groin strain on this play. RTP will depend on degree of strain, likely a minimum of 1 week. For context, Steph Curry missed 11 games with a moderate strain, LeBron recently missed a week. https://t.co/rI5BziLJHb— DocFlynn (@jessdeede) January 23, 2020
Tatum did return to the bench in the fourth quarter, but did so with his right leg heavily wrapped. It is unclear whether he will play in Boston’s road game against the Orlando Magic Friday. The Celtics have been very cautious recently when players have suffered a tweak or a pull, and if that trend continues, it is likely Tatum will sit out for at least a game.
The 6-foot-8 forward is blossoming into a full-fledge star in his third NBA season. Tatum has developed into a more polished scorer and unleashed his offensive repertoire on the Grizzlies, especially when the Celtics when on a game-altering 23-2 run to end the first half.
Tatum scored 10 points during the tear and also assisted on two other baskets. His performance, like the one had earlier this week when he poured in 27 points in a resounding win over the Lakers, will only bolster his All-Star candidacy.
“He is,” said Kemba Walker on if Tatum was getting better at taking over games. “I’m trying to encourage him more to do so. He’s just gotta become that killer, which he is. It’s so fun to watch him and Jaylen (Brown), man. It’s so fun to be a part of their growth.”
And with that growth came a large pay day for Brown. And now, that same lucrative extension seems almost a certainty for Tatum, who has one more year left on his rookie contract before he can become a restricted free agent. Celtics president Rich Gotham seems to agree.
After watching Tatum’s 1st half vs the #Grizzlies, I Whispered in Rich Gotham’s (#Celtics president)— Cedric Maxwell (@cedricmaxwell81) January 23, 2020
“that’s going big check to write...” to which he replied
- Max pic.twitter.com/P8soeRxq3R
As one former Celtic said, it may be time to back up the brinks truck for Tatum.