All hope appeared lost for the Boston Celtics on Friday night. The team entered halftime down 29 points. The deficit would quickly grow to 32 points. Yet, even in what looked destined to be a complete blunder on the Celtics’ end, you could tell Jayson Tatum was in his bag. The two-time All-Star recorded 24 points in the first 24 minutes of play — exactly half of the team’s total output. He didn’t slow down from there. Tatum would go on to drop a career-high in points, tying Larry Bird’s franchise record of 60, as he guided the Cs to the third-largest comeback victory the NBA has seen in 35 years.
Following the game, Tatum was spotted sharing pleasantries with his son Deuce when teammate Tristan Thompson came over to the duo to send Deuce a message:
Despite being a max contract player and a two-time All-Star, impressing both his father and his son still matters to him. But Tatum said he doesn’t need that or anything else external for motivation anymore.
“I have the utmost expectations for myself and where I’m trying to get to and where I want to be when it’s all said and done,” he said. “I know I’m young and I have a super long way to go, but I’m determined to get there.”
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Tatum Recreates Wilt Chamberlain Photo
Tatum, who previously notched 53 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves in early April, now becomes the first player ever in Celtics history to score 50-plus points on two occasions in a single season, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Unfortunately, Duece wasn’t able to make the game against Minnesota, making Friday’s showing all the more meaningful to Tatum.
“Jokingly I said I’ve just got to do it again when he’s there. I mean I meant it,” Tatum told reporters. “To score a career-high in a game like this while he’s there is something I’ll never forget and we’ll be able to talk about when he gets a little older.”
Following his historic performance, the team’s official Twitter page shared a photo of Tatum recreating Wilt Chamberlain’s iconic photo — albeit the Hall of Famer did have 40 points on the Celtics forward.
As we mentioned earlier, Tatum’s showing against the Spurs has forever cemented the 23-year-old in Celtics history, joining Larry Legend atop the franchise’s individual scoring list.
“That is… it’s hard to – I don’t know,” he said following the game. “Obviously anytime you’re mentioned with a top-10 player of all time in any stat, obviously that is a good thing. It’s something I never I think would have imagined at this age.”
Celtics React to Historic Comeback
While the Celtics’ comeback left fans and viewers in awe, they weren’t alone. Celtics players were just as flabbergasted by the outcome.
“The 30-plus point deficit we overcame, never even like seen that in person or watched it,” said Aaron Nesmith, who continues to man more minutes down the stretch. “To be a part of it is just incredible.”
All-Star Jaylen Brown echoed a similar notion, stating “I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a 30-point comeback, and it was perfect timing.”