After losing in overtime to the New York Knicks on Thursday night, the Boston Celtics ended up there again against the Los Angeles Lakers. After the Celtics tied it up with Jaylen Brown at the line to hit the redeeming free throw, LeBron James was livid after a non-call as he went for the game-winning layup. Jayson Tatum made contact with his arm on the attempt. The two teams went to OT with the score tied up 105-105, and the Celtics pulled away to snap their three-game skid.
“The last two minutes and overtime was a blur,” said Jayson Tatum with a smile when asked about the non-call. “I don’t really know what happened. I gotta watch the game, watch the film, because everything was just happening so fast. But, we moved on, and got the win, that’s all I got to say about that.”
Boston will now have a few days off before their home game against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. It’s their first three-day break since the start of the season. Two straight overtime games takes a toll, especially when considering all of the injuries the team has had to navigate with crucial players in and out of the lineup over the last two weeks. The team had Malcolm Brogdon return against the Knicks, but had missed a few games due to personal reasons. Marcus Smart has been out with a right ankle sprain, and Robert Williams missed the Lakers game with a left ankle sprain.
Jayson Tatum leads the league in points scored.— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) January 29, 2023
NBA scoring leaders:
1. Jayson Tatum – 1,493 PTS
2. Luka Doncic – 1,485 PTS
3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 1,391 PTS
4. Anthony Edwards – 1,286 PTS
5. Julius Randle – 1,261 PTS pic.twitter.com/VlPW8XBKRA
“It was a back-and-forth game throughout the entire night,” said Jayson Tatum. “Guys on both ends made big shots, big rebounds, big plays, swings, momentum changes... obviously, going into overtime. I’m tired. I am exhausted. Obviously, some big-time players in that game on both sides, the history between both. But, 47 minutes [for me] tonight, I’m ready to go to sleep.”
With the Celtics tasked with navigating injuries over the past few weeks, the team will need to do some thinking as the NBA trade deadline draws near. Both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have played heavy minutes, and both of them have dealt with some kind of injury this season; fatigue is something that’s just bound to happen. For Brown, it was his right adductor strain that kept him out, and Tatum is dealing with a wrist injury with trainer Nick Sang.
In order for Boston to make a deeper run into the playoffs, they’re going to need a find a way to build in some rest days for their key guys. The team has done well with managing Al Horford’s workload by skipping back-to-back games, and they’ve done a great job in handling Robert Williams in his return to play following knee surgery. But as of now, unless they’ve gotten injured and been forced from games, Brown and Tatum have played often, and usually career-high minutes.
Competitive games are going to be draining; that’s just the nature of the sport. But the Celtics need to figure out how to build in some rest for their two stars, even if they don’t want to take time off. Their health and well-being is crucial for a deep playoff run, and it’s clear that depth can only help; just look at what adding a player like Malcolm Brogdon has done for the guard rotation.
Jayson Tatum on end of regulation: "The last two minutes & overtime was a blur. I don't really know what happened" pic.twitter.com/KhBnRZ0Tif— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) January 29, 2023
It doesn’t have to be a trade of that magnitude or of that high a salary, and in complete honesty, that kind of move isn’t likely due to their current salary. But acquiring a wing player capable of eating some regular season minutes could do wonders for the Celtics over the next thirty games, even if it only shaves off a few minutes for Brown and Tatum each night. As the deadline inches closer and closer, Brad Stevens will have some thinking and planning to do. Boston will play Brooklyn on Wednesday, 7:30 pm EST tipoff.