After a disappointing performance in the 2022 NBA Finals, many people were interested to see how Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum would respond. And to this point, he has responded in a big way. Tatum is averaging 30.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. He is also averaging a career-high in points, field goal percentage, and free three percentage.
Despite already having a career season, Tatum made an even bigger statement in the Celtics’ last game against the Miami Heat, netting 49 points and 11 rebounds. It earned the Celtics star the praise of Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.
“49, 8-12 from Tracy is ridiculous Jayson Tatum. It’s a lot of cooking going on in this league man,” the Nets star tweeted on November 30.
Durant will get his shot at slowing Tatum down when the Nets take on the Celtics in a rematch of last year playoffs on December 4.
Tatum wasn’t the only young star to catch Durant’s attention on the night. So too did Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker who scored 51 points on just 25 shots. Durant had high praise for him as well.
“20-25 is f****** ridiculous Devin Booker,” Durant tweeted.
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Vaughan, Kyrie Sound Off on Durant’s Recent Stretch
Though Durant had high praise for two of the league’s brightest stars, the Nets forward has been doing some cooking of his own over a significant stretch. Durant followed up a 45-point performance against the Orlando Magic on November 28 with a 39-point outing against the Washington Wizards on November 30. Durant has scored 30 or more points in four consecutive games for the Nets, hitting 44 of his last 64 shots en route to their longest winning streak of the season.
It may just be another day in the office for the two-time NBA Finals MVP, but Durant’s teammates and coaches know they are witnessing greatness.
“There’s nothing normal about what we do out there on the floor. [Durant is] a God-given talent,” Irving said of his co-star via Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post. “But when we see it displayed so effortlessly, so efficiently, we definitely have to celebrate that.”
“Sometimes I have to make sure I don’t take him for granted,” Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn added. “The fact that he shows up every single day. He’s ready to work, he’s ready to listen, he’s ready to be a great teammate.”
Nets Turning the Corner at the Perfect Time
With all that the Nets have endured so early in the season, they now find themselves with a winning record, sitting in the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. With Durant playing out of his mind and Irving back on the Nets roster, the sky is the limit for what they can accomplish as a ball club.
What is also working in Brooklyn’s favor is that as they have begun their surge back, some of the other top teams in their conference have suffered a drop-off. The Atlanta Hawks are 4-6 in their last 10 games, the Toronto Raptors are 5-5, and so are the Miami Heat.
It’s still very early in the season to make any sort of bold prediction, but if this pace keeps up, the Nets could be among the top teams in the conference at the end of the regular season.