The 23-year-old All-Star completed using a career-high 53 points — such as 35 points in the second half and overtime — to lead the Celtics into some 145-132 victory within the Minnesota Timberwolves, enabling Boston to escape out of a match it trailed in to a lot of law, just to give a late lead to ship the match to overtime.
“To score 50 is a major thing in this league, and particularly at this age,” said Tatum. “It will be a night I recall, and we’ve got the win along with this – a large triumph.
“Every win is enormous.”
Friday’s match was, in many ways, a microcosm of all Boston’s whole season. Playing once more without Evan Fournier, who’s missed the last couple of games because of the NBA’s wellbeing and security protocols, and will not be traveling with the Celtics in their impending three-game West Coast trip, Boston’s lack of depth was a problem.
And, for a group that’s been hugely inconsistent all year, the Celtics once more fought for long stretches of the game against one of the NBA’s worst teams.
Those struggles comprised monitoring by 14 points in the conclusion of their first quarter — prompting trainer Brad Stevens to create an extremely unusual move and return to his whole starting five to start the second.
“To be truthful, I simply didn’t need it to be 30 at halftime,” Stevens deadpanned then. “It wasn’t going in the ideal direction, and only wished to sustain a distance. Just sort of hang ”
While it did not just work as Stevens planned, since Boston went to the half trailing by nine, the Celtics finally stopped their way back in the game with a onslaught of 3-pointers at the next half. After moving 5-for-15 from heavy in the first half, Boston moved 14-for-27 from behind the arc in the second half and overtime — for example Tatum, who took 11-for-17 total after halftime, moving 5-for-8 from behind the arc.
“If we were coming back into the next, you can see he had it,” Stevens explained. “And men did a fantastic job locating him.
“Tatum was super unique tonight. … do not confuse his quiet demeanor for being a rival. He’s a competitor.”
Boston wanted every ounce of the competitiveness to acquire this one.
But instead than be beaten down from how the fourth finished, Boston responded with another run to put the match away . The Celtics took good advantage of their focus on Tatum to acquire first Brown, then Walker (double ) available for triples on 3 straight possessions to blow the game open, and give Boston a lead it would not relinquish.
“Staying the program,” Smart said, when asked how Boston managed to bounce back in overtime. “We had a few plays which could have turned and we could not win down the street and we have been moving down. We just chose and only continued to speak and I presume tell another we gotta keep to keep moving and just keep fighting whatever hardship is facing us.”