Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum’s historic 53-point performance carried his team to an overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, on Friday, while etching his name into the record books of one of the most storied franchises in the NBA.
Tatum, 23, became the youngest Celtics player to score 50+ points in a single game. While setting a new career-high, he drained 16-of-25 attempts from the floor, including 6-of-10 from deep to go with his 10 rebounds and four assists. Boston edged out Minnesota 145-136.
Prior to the game, Celtics legend and radio color commentator Cedric Maxwell had very strong words to say about Tatum. In response to some of the harsh criticism that the Celtics All-Star’s received, Maxwell, in his latest episode of the Cedric Maxwell Podcast, came to Jayson’s defense.
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Despite the setbacks that have plagued the Celtics this season, Max believes that people are overlooking the fact that Tatum still has a lot of room to grow. Pointing out that even some of the league’s greatest players, such as basketball icon, Michael Jordan, needed many years to evolve into a champion.
“Michael Jordan’s arguably one of the greatest players to ever play the game,” Maxwell said on the latest episode of the Cedric Maxwell Podcast. “But, how long did it take him to win? He didn’t win immediately when he came in and people had dubbed him for a while as a guy who couldn’t win it. They said, “He’s individual but he doesn’t make guys around him better” and then all of a sudden he’s the greatest, now, since he made guys around him better. Can Tatum or Brown do that?”
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Reminding everyone of Tatum’s recovery from COVID-19 while coupling it with the fact that nearly every Celtics player was affected by the coronavirus in one shape or form, this season, “Cornbread” says fans in Boston have been taking things too far, lately.
“There’s a legion of guys out there that are not fond of Jayson Tatum and what he’s done so far this year,” Maxwell said. “I’ve said before, we don’t know how COVID’s affected Jayson Tatum because there was one game in particular where he said, “I was playing against Washington and I couldn’t breathe.”
Now, Max says he’s taken aback by how the narrative surrounding Tatum’s potential has drastically changed.
“It went on from that to, “Jayson Tatum’s not a leader, Tatum’s not this, Brown’s not that,” and it’s like, calm down,” Maxwell added. “How old is he? He’s just really learning to play the game at a professional level and now you give him all the keys to the castle, and you just expect him to know it just like that.
“It was so much noise surrounding what they’ve done and what they have not done.”