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Halftime hot takes: Jayson Tatum wants the MVP

Through one half of Boston’s opening game, Jayson Tatum looks like he’s primed for an MVP run.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are halfway through their season opener against the New York Knicks and things are looking okay. After a strong start, the Cs entered the break with a 51-46 lead over the hosts.

Nonetheless, basketball is back and I am fired up.

Get ready for some halftime hot takes, buddy.

2019 NBA All Star Commissioner’s Media Availability
NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Boston’s defense is a five-man straightjacket

The opening of this game was a nightmare. Both sides looked absolutely lost offensively, but New York’s struggles seemed to be less-related to nerves than Boston’s did. Defense was always going to be a key part of this team’s success. The starting backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Derrick White is enough to keep opposing guards up at night. Not to mention the length and strength of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Kristaps Porzingis down low.

So far, the Celtics have looked connected on the defensive end. They’ve been able to make things very difficult for the Knicks, deflecting passes and forcing them into tough shot after tough shot.

The Celtic defense thrived down low, rejecting six shots so far, and making plenty more uncomfortable for their opponents.

The Celtics are NOT afraid to fire up threes

Now, this isn’t one that comes as a surprise, but my goodness, the Celtics have the ultimate green light from deep. They fired up 22 first-half attempts from beyond the arc against the Knicks and saw eight of those find the bottom of the net.

Jayson Tatum is taking his MVP campaign seriously

The top man for the Celtics has looked like just that so far. Tatum got off to a blistering start in this one, pouring in 10 quick first-quarter points. Just about everything that he threw up found the bottom of the net and he looked like a man possessed.

He carried that dominance over to the second quarter, adding another nine points to bring his first-half total to 19. Boston’s No. 0 did it all: threes, mid-ranges, layups, and even a super-cool dunk. This was just about as good of a start to the season that fans could’ve asked for from the 25-year-old.

Tatum’s name has been plastered all over the MVP conversation leading up to this season. He finished fourth in the voting race last year and entered the new campaign with the fifth-best odds to capture the trophy at +750, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

After the series of moves made by Brad Stevens over the summer, the Cs are in prime position to finish amongst the league’s best, setting Tatum up to become the first Celtic to win the award since Larry Bird.

Kristaps Porzingis is a DAWG

Alright so, we all already kind of knew how great Porzingis was by watching him ball out in the preseason. However, watching him light up his former team was something special. The big Latvian was met with a chorus of boos when he was introduced pre-game and he took it personally.

He was on fire early, scoring 15 points early on, knocking down five of his eight attempts from the field. It wasn’t just offense either, the Unicorn was a key aspect of the aforementioned defense, sending back a trio of shots.

The most important part of this is the wrinkle of it being a big game (opening night) and one that’s being played in a hostile environment. This is just about as close as you can get to a playoff-type feel in October and the man has thrived in it.

That has to be a great sign, right???

Let us know what your biggest hot take from the first half is below in the replies!

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