The Boston Celtics picked up their third win in a row on Monday night, taking down the Memphis Grizzlies by a score of 109-106. While some missed free throws down the stretch made the win harder than it had to be, it still pushed Boston to 7-3 on the season, which ties them for third in the Eastern Conference.
Jayson Tatum led the way for Boston with 39 points, marking his fifth 30-point performance of the season. He also added three rebounds and two assists to his totals.
After the game, he agreed that this is the hottest start to a season he’s had throughout the course of his six-year career.
Jayson Tatum talks about his strong start this year, saying it's probably the best he's ever felt to start a season #BleedGreen pic.twitter.com/XcxvLH1JZs— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 8, 2022
“Maybe like at the start of the season probably. So, yeah. I don’t think I’ve necessarily started off this well to start a season off. So, I would probably say yeah.”
Through the Celtics’ first ten games, Tatum is averaging 30.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4.0 assists on 49.7% shooting from the field and 36.3% shooting from behind the three-point line. His percentages are the stats to note, as through Boston’s first ten games last year, he was shooting just 39.5% from the field and 32.1% from deep.
Tatum said that his offseason work with team physical therapist Nick Sang helped him a lot and also noted that he’s getting better with age.
“Offseason workouts,” Tatum said. “Nick gets all the credit, as he should. Not from a basketball standpoint, just the weight room. And, you know, changing my diet. I’m just getting older and understanding the game a little bit better than I did a few years ago.”
The superstar spoke at length about his diet during a recent appearance on In Depth with Graham Bensinger. He said that he’d never been on a diet before, but this year, he’s focused more on getting his body right.
While his top-notch scoring performance was the main story of Boston’s win over the Grizzlies, he ran into [literally] an injury scare late in the game. Tatum collided with Ja Morant, injuring his knee in the process.
However, after the game, Tatum said that he feels fine and that there was nothing intentional about the incident.
“Left leg, knee. It was just kind of like a weird fall. He dove for it, I tried to pick it up and get out of the way. You know, nothing intentional,” Tatum said. “It’s kind of like, I guess his knee collided with mine. So, it felt a little discomfort there, but obviously, kept playing, got it looked at. So, I’m fine.”
Jayson Tatum gives update on his knee after going down in final minutes of the game pic.twitter.com/nZrFtiw7S6— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 8, 2022
Tatum stayed on the ground for a few moments and would eventually get up and finish the game.
.@tvabby caught up @smart_MS3 after a tough #Celtics win in Memphis. He talks about THAT left hand shot, and drawing a charge from Ja Morant #BleedGreen pic.twitter.com/A3J8nlHG9I— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 8, 2022
Marcus Smart, who put up a 15-point, seven-rebound, 12-assist game of his own, praised Tatum for his two-way play, as the superstar took on the challenge of guarding Morant at the end of the game and led the Celtics on both ends of the floor.
“When JT can be all-around, a basketball player on both ends of the floor, it makes this team that much more scary,” Smart said. “He can go get you 40 and then go lock somebody up and stop them from getting 40. When we got everybody going like that, scoring the ball and playing defense, it makes it a lot easier for us.”