Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum’s ascension to stardom put the league on notice in 2020-21. Highlighted by two signature performances, the two-time All-Star is without question one of the league’s brightest rising stars.
Tatum followed a career-high 60-point masterpiece in a 143-140 regular-season overtime win against the San Antonio Spurs with a playoff career-high 50 points in Game 3 of the Celtics’ best-of-7 opening-round series against the Brooklyn Nets. In some ways, the latter feat — a 125-119 playoff win over the Nets — was most impressive.
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Handing Brooklyn’s star trio — Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving — its first and only loss in the postseason was one thing but to witness Tatum put the team on his back in the midst of full takeover mode was an entirely different entity. He finished with 16-of-30 from the floor, including 5-of-11 from behind the 3-point arc, alongside his seven assists, a pair of steals, and one block.
It was the second time in 10 days Tatum scored 50 points in a game. He did the same against the Washington Wizards in the play-in game that punched Boston’s ticket into the its opening-round series against the Nets but, most importantly, Tatum proved he could go toe-to-toe with one of the biggest threats to win the Eastern Conference.
Josh Richardson Compares Jayson Tatum to Luka Doncic
Alongside the champion Milwaukee Bucks, the Nets are favorites to head to the 2022 Finals. However, Tatum’s next stride in his progression could push the Celtics to becoming a threat to the Eastern Conference’s upper echelon.
Now, one of the Celtics’ newest players in Josh Richardson believes making life easier for Tatum will push Boston to new heights. Richardson, who was traded from the Dallas Mavericks, was asked, based on his experience of playing with All-Star Luka Doncic, what the differences are between Luka and Tatum.
“Playing with JT it’s probably getting him to his spots more,” Richardson replied, per Celtics.com. “I think that Luka is very ball-dominant so Luka can kind of get his wherever. It’s getting in where you fit in with Luka. He can do whatever. It’s so tough to guard that. And, JT, once he gets to his spots, once he gets going; he’s great. So, figuring out how to make him as successful as possible. If that’s bringing the ball up, getting him to his spots, or setting a screen or spotting up, or whatever; I’m going to figure it out.”
Richardson: ‘I’m Just Trying to be Consistent’
Richardson, who averaged 12.1 points and 2.9 assists, is coming off of a career-low 33% 3-point shooting clip. He hopes to increase efficiencies in that department.
“I’m just trying to be consistent,” Richardson said during his media availability. “The last couple years I’ve been through slumps and then I’ve had, you know, good stretches. But, if I can put together those good stretches together for a whole year, I think that can help this team a lot and give guys that kick-out guy. When they throw it out there, they don’t have to worry about it.”
Tatum averaged a career-high 26.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in 2020-21.