Skip to main content

Jayson Tatum erupted for 16 points in the first quarter of Tuesday's tilt at Barclays Center. He attacked downhill, threw down a pair of transition dunks, and buried three consecutive shots from beyond the arc.

After getting fouled while drilling the third one, the five-time All-Star received MVP chants from Celtics fans in the crowd as he stepped to the free-throw line.

For an encore, the former Duke Blue Devil put 15 points on the board in the second frame, giving him 31 in 24 minutes, tied his career for a first half. He entered intermission 10/17 (58.8 percent) from the field, including 4/7 (57.1 percent) from three-point range, and went 7/7 at the stripe.

After staking the Celtics to a 72-57 advantage, the Nets changed course, consistently blitzing Tatum as he came off screens, forcing his teammates to beat them.

The two-time All-NBA First Team selection had no qualms with that, routinely getting the ball to Jrue Holiday or Derrick White on a short roll after screening for him. While he only scored ten points in the second half, with the defense at a numbers disadvantage, he accumulated one hockey assist after another, and Boston continued creating quality looks.

While the visitors eased off the gas late in the third quarter, and it carried into the fourth, as turnovers and defensive slip-ups that led to open threes for Brooklyn factored into the hosts staging an 11-1 run to pull within six after being down 23.

But despite the matchup growing more competitive in the final frame, the Celtics sealed a 118-110 win in their second-to-last game before the All-Star break.

Tatum finished with 41 points on 14/26 shooting, including 5/11 from beyond the arc. He made the most shots from three-point range and went 8/8 at the free-throw line, taking and converting on the most in the matchup.

The St. Louis native paired that production with 14 rebounds. No one else reached double digits in that category. It's his 11th consecutive contest with at least 20 points and seven boards.

In a stat-sheet-stuffing performance, he also dished out five assists, had two steals, and a block.

According to Dick Lipe of NBC Sports Boston, Tatum's the first player in Celtics history to have at least 40 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and five threes in a game.

He also became the fifth player in NBA history to register at least 40 points, 14 rebounds, five threes, five assists, and two steals. He's the only player to do so while committing fewer than three turnovers, per Max Lederman of NBC Sports Boston.

As captured by CLNS Media, after a victory that improves the Celtics' league-leading record to 42-12, Tatum verbalized what's consistently on display: a star player who prioritizes winning and playing the game the right way above all else.

"No temptation," he stated about potentially pushing for 50 points. "I've had my fair share of 50s (and) I've scored 60 before. I know (that) I can do that, but it's all about just playing in a rhythm.

"(I) came out (for the) second half, understanding they might guard me differently or come hit. So, I was handling the ball a lot more, trying to manipulate the defense. Guys kept setting screens (and) they were getting behind the defense, I'd throw it over the top. Whether they scored or not or kicked it out for hockey assists, I was just trying to find ways to impact the game."

Further Reading

Jaylen Brown on Altercation with Duncan Robinson: 'I Bet You He Won't Do It Again'

Brad Stevens Discusses Celtics' Plan for Final Roster Spot

Brad Stevens Sheds Light on Celtics' Motivations for Xavier Tillman Trade

Celtics Swing Savvy Deal with 76ers for Jaden Springer

Marcus Smart Shares How Boston Shaped Him, His Message to Celtics Fans

Celtics Maturation Molded by Experience: 'It Builds, Like, an Armor'

Fixated on Winning, Jayson Tatum Again Proves He's Not 'Bored Making the Right Play Over and Over'

Jaylen Brown Quieting Doubters, Validating What He Always Believed: 'Earn Everybody's Trust'

Joe Mazzulla Discusses Identity, Evolution of Celtics' Offense: 'Balance of Pace and Execution'

Jaylen Brown Shares His View of What Defines 'Celtics Basketball'