A lot of these “most in franchise history” notes you see scrolling on Twitter have to be taken with a grain of contextual salt. Yes, any NBA franchise record is impressive, but some are far more than others. The Boston Celtics, for instance? If you find yourself on any all-time list, let alone at the top, in that franchise, you’ve done something truly special.
So, when I tell you that Jayson Tatum, at 23 years old, already has four of the top nine single-game scoring outputs, including the top two, in Celtics history, listen up. This man is a bucket. And he’s been on some kind of tear over the past few weeks.
After hanging 54 points on Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday — the second-highest scoring mark in Celtics history, trailing only the 60 points that Tatum put on San Antonio last season — Tatum posted 44 points on 16-of-24 shooting, including 6-of-9 from deep, in Boston’s 115-101 win over the Hornets on Wednesday.
Tatum has now sunk 14 of his last 24 3s. He’s averaging 35 points a night over seven games since the All-Star break, and 41 points over four games in March. Yet, he’s not forcing his offense. Making the right read has been an important and well-chronicled part of Tatum’s evolution this season, particularly of late, and you need not watch one of his recent games for long to see what all the fuss is about.
Overall, Tatum has not shot well this season. But he’s been making increasingly big strides all season in terms of attacking quicker and more decisively. Straight-line drives are more frequent now. Fewer side-to-side jigs before launching into a contested jumper. Look at the first bucket in this highlight package. Zero hesitation. Just a catch and go, split two defenders and finish over two more.
Tatum can get, and make, any shot on the court. At times, that’s been the issue. He can be a sucker for his own talent. Indeed, it’s a tricky learning curve for a young player with all the scoring skills in the world to balance the better senses of a more efficient, patient approach.