The Boston Celtics will be without Jayson Tatum for their December 18 game against the Orlando Magic due to personal reasons, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Tatum’s absence comes hot on the heels of Boston’s shocking 117-109 defeat to the Magic on Friday, December 16, where Boston shot just 23.9% from the perimeter.
This will be the second game Tatum has missed this season after sitting out Boston’s November 27 victory over the Washington Wizards — a game he usually relishes due to the opportunity of playing against close friend Bradley Beal. As such, the Celtics will now be looking to avenge their recent defeat without the help of their budding superstar, who has been performing at an MVP level over the first 30 games of the season.
Tatum, 24, is currently averaging 30.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game and is shooting a career-best 55.7% from two-point range this season on 11.9 attempts per game. After having an entire off-season to focus on developing his skillset, Tatum has become a genuine threat when attacking the rim and is playing with newfound aggression, both on and off the ball.
Boston currently occupies the first seed in the Eastern Conference standings, one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks and three in front of the impressive Cleveland Cavaliers. As such, the Celtics will likely be firing on all cylinders on Sunday as they look to keep Milwaukee at arm's length heading towards their inevitable showdown on Christmas Day.
After Sunday’s game against the Magic, Boston will have a short break before facing the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, December 21, where hopefully, Tatum will return to the starting lineup and help Boston continue their charge towards Eastern Conference domination and, ideally, a spot back in the NBA Finals.