After a 128-116 blowout win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics have found themselves the winner of four straight games as they continue to pick up steam. The star pairing of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum paced the team with 30 and 31 points respectively, and Sam Hauser had another career performance with a career high 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting as well as a career high 32 minutes of floor time.
Tatum has been electric to start off the season, and against the Pistons, Tatum dropped 31 points on 10-of-20 shooting, 5-of-11 from deep, 6-of-7 from the line, and chipped in five assists. For a player who has in the past had notoriously slow starts to the season, he has looked like the real deal, with the demeanor and the attitude of a man with unfinished business. Most importantly, Tatum is playing at this high of a level and making it look almost effortless in the process.
JAYSON. TATUM.— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 10, 2022
He scored 16 points... in five minutes pic.twitter.com/veD42YBDAI
Late in the game, Marcus Smart dove for a steal and pitched it up ahead, where he found Jayson Tatum wide open in transition for a thunderous “special delivery” dunk. The dunk was a signature of Karl “The Mailman” Malone during his time in the NBA. Apparently, Tatum has worked on it in the past, but it was the first time in a while we’ve seen him break it out in a game.
“I used to do it in high school all the time,” said Tatum with a smile, “I think, if y’all dig deep enough, I think I did it once or twice my rookie year. I don’t know. You know, out there you gotta make split second decisions, and I honestly I don’t know...I just did it you know real quick.” The dunk was made possible not only by Smart’s hustle, but the team’s willingness to push the pace and get out running, which has played a big part in Boston having an elite offense so far this season.
Marcus Smart goes all out and saves it to Jayson Tatum for the dunk! pic.twitter.com/BxPza6xtv1— NBA (@NBA) November 10, 2022
On finding Sam Hauser on some cuts to the basket, Tatum said that it was just reads he was making in the moment and not designed plays. ”Yeah, just reads that we make,” said Tatum, “You know, when we’re getting those actions three guys away, set his pin down, flare slip, get a basket cut, you know...try to get somebody open, they’re not connected to your body, slip to the basket and look for the ball.” Boston has noticeably been moving a lot more on the offensive end, and not just by pushing the pace, but by cutting and screening a lot more to generate looks. Tatum was asked what he’s seen from the Celtics passing as well as his own playmaking.
“Just everybody’s willingness to play with pace and share the ball, and trust that once you give it up that it’s going to come back,” said Tatum “And I think when we all have that trust, that the ball will find you if you you know make the right play, and play the right way, you know everybody’s getting shots and opportunities, and everybody’s happy.” Al Horford said something similar about the Celtics offense, and that it’s been a lot of fun. It’s clear that whatever Boston is doing on the offensive end, everybody is having fun doing it and the basketball is rewarding them.
Tatum had some tape on his left hand and wrist during the game, which raised some eyebrows. After the playoffs concluded, it became known that Tatum had been dealing with a non-displaced fracture in his left wrist. With it being taped up during the Pistons game, Tatum was asked if it was the same issue as before or if it was serious cause for concern.
“Same wrist, same hand, something looked different that we’re just managing at this moment,” said Tatum, “Nothing that I gotta have surgery (on), but something that’s bothering me. But, just tape it up and go out there and continue to play.”
Jayson Tatum and the Celtics will play the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, tipoff at 7:00PM EST.