Ashley Landis / Associated Press
Jayson Tatum took on a different look at the Boston Celtics court on Sunday than the curls he had developed since the team arrived in Orlando. He was going to cut his hair before the Celtics defeat at the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, but his mother and grandmother demanded that he play at least one game with him. After a fraudulent performance that night, he had to change something before facing the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I think it was a coincidence when I went”; for 18 “and then cut my hair,” Tatum said after the game.
Maybe it was a haircut, or maybe 22-year-old Tatum, just wasn’t going to shoot so badly for two consecutive matches. But Tatum, which showed a 128-124 victory against Portland until Sunday, the one who finished with 34 points, four rebounds and eight career-leading passes, was much closer to the All-Star star it blossomed in in its third season. .
Tatum threw 11 out of 22 and 5 out of 8 out of three points, including 21 points in the first half as Boston opened the 19-point lead over Portland. When the Blazers withdrew from the deficit, even breaking out in the fourth quarter, it was Jaylen Brown who helped the Celtics with the blows.
Bleach Rapporteur @BleacherReport
The Tatum / Brown duo could not stop today: Tatum: 34 PTS | 8 AST 5-8 3 PT brown: 30 PTS | 6 REB | 6-8 3 PT Celtics Beat Blazers 128-124 https://t.co/Th5RZOGNXL
Both 64 wings, collected from 128 points in Boston, were like a reminder of how dangerous the Celtics could be – not just at the start of the game, but next year – with Brown, 23, and Tatum.
Boston’s Disney kick-off ceiling is likely to be constrained by Kemba Walker’s ongoing road problems, which the Celtics are trying to fix before the playoffs start later this month. Walker played just 22 minutes on Sunday and sat hard as the Blazers came back. In those limited minutes, he finished scoring 14 points by shooting out of 5 out of 6.
Walker’s health may prevent Boston from competing with the Bucks, Raptors and Heat in the East this year, but the jumps Tatum and Brown made in the third and fourth years, respectively, put the Celtics among the brightest matches in the future league.
Team president Danny Ainge has been working for many years to collect drafts to trade superstars, as rumors have been, and the Celtics have attacked surprisingly competitive teams. It now seems that the focus of the organization is on building stability with the current core. Now that they are at that time, they will take advantage of the experience after the season that these young players have already accumulated. The final of the Celtics Eastern Conference went to Tatum’s rookie year, and the semifinal went to last season.
“We are young guys, but we have a lot of experience in the playoffs,” said Tatumas. “We’ve been involved in big games, in some big moments. We’re two extremely confident guys who want to play right.”
Bleach Rapporteur @BleacherReport
Bounce, Tatum. It was beautiful. (per @celtics) https://t.co/ljpgIPsJjy
The Sunday with the most productive passes in Tatum’s career speaks to improvements to his game in the first three seasons, as he is not a pure goalkeeper, which has been the case since he made it to the league. And he, Brown, Marcus Smart, and Gordon Hayward became a great defensive unit.
Tatum’s newly discovered performance was a key factor in helping him still contribute when his shots aren’t declining, as they did on Friday. But for the Blazers, it wasn’t an issue when Tatum filled it.
“It’s not just the ball that matters,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “He looked at it and said,‘ I can do a lot to make a difference to the game. “He’s such a talented offensive player and has a vision of how to make it happen.”
The Celtics have six matches left to find out their playoff rotation and heal Walker. Coughing a huge road to Portland on Sunday, they still have a few exercises. But their future is bright.
“We really have to be better down [stretch]”We have a young team, but we don’t have time for ‘young’ mistakes. We’ve grown a lot and we have too little time to do that. The break didn’t help. We have to speed up that learning curve.”
Sean Highkin discusses the NBA event at the Bleacher Report and is one of the hosts of the program Bulls and Blazers podcasts. It is currently based in Portland. His work has been honored by the Pro Basketball Writers Association. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and B / R.