In a 105-95 win over the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday afternoon, Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum’s game-high 38 points led Boston to its eighth consecutive win. The Celtics — victors of ten of their last 12 games — are now the hottest team in the association.
Tatum netted 25 of his 38 points in the second half, Jaylen Brown finished with 17 points as Boston closed out the Hawks despite All-Star Trae Young’s 30-point performance. The Celtics are rolling right now and gradually climbing up the Eastern Conference standings.
Boston (33-25), is currently sixth in the East, two games behind the Philadelphia 76ers, and with an opportunity to cut Philly’s lead in half when they face the Sixers Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. However, don’t expect Tatum to drop the “I told you so” to his naysayers anytime soon.
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Tatum: ‘We Live in a World Where Everybody is Impatient’
According to the two-time All-Star, who shed light on the harsh criticism he and his teammates have endured throughout 2021-22, following Sunday’s win over the Hawks, that moment is for a later and much more significant moment in life. Still, Tatum isn’t taking his team’s turning point for granted.
However, he understands why expectations for the 2021-22 Celtics are set so high.
“We live in a world where everybody is really impatient, and the expectations are coming at you from all angles,” Tatum explained after Sunday’s win against the Hawks. “But I think the rewarding part of winning eight, nine games in a row, and playing well, as you kind of remember when (expletive) wasn’t going right, and it was frustrating. And, it makes times like this feel a lot better when we’re having some fun, and we are down ten at the half, figure it out, come back, and win.”
It’s all a part of the journey.
Tatum: ‘I’m a Tell Ya’ll ‘I Told You So’ When we Win a Championship’
And there’s still the ultimate goal that awaits; that’s winning a title — which, for Jayson, is what matters most.
“We didn’t win a championship. Today didn’t make or break the season,” Tatum added. “I’m a tell ya’ll ‘I told you so’ when we win the championship someday. But, until then, anything less than that is just the process of getting there.”
Halftime adjustments and an all-hands-on-deck approach to defense have made a tremendous difference of late. Boston now holds the second-best defensive rating (105.0) in the NBA, per NBA.com.
Celtics’ Defensive Efficiency of Late
However, the Celtics have held their opponents to 96.2 points per game throughout their eight-game winning streak. Knowing what he knows now, Jayson understands why jumping out to such a slow start — 4-6 in their first ten games of the regular season — was in the cards.
“Everybody would have liked for us to just play like this out the gate, and we made efforts but, the reality is; things take time,” Tatum said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of losses where we wish we could have back; things we wish we could change. But, we were all just adjusting to something new: all-new coaching staff, kind of a new brand of basketball, a bit. I’ve been doing this, it’s my fifth year now, and you realize there are certain parts of the season that are better than others.
“For whatever reason, it’s just a long season, and it goes like that, but you realize there are certain points where you kind of just click. Things just feel a little bit more natural when you figure it out, and it’s been showing lately.”