A few minutes after halftime, things weren't looking great in this one as the Celtics trailed by their largest deficit of 17 on their home floor to the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team with the worst record in the league.
Then, Jayson Tatum caught fire. For the remainder of the game, he scored 35 (11-17 FGs) of the team's 83 points as they outscored the visitors by 26 courtesy of a 21-12 overtime session.
The 23-year-old etched his name in the Celtics history books with this performance.
Jayson Tatum became the youngest 50-point scorer in Celtics history.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 10, 2021
Tatum's 53 points were the most since Larry Bird scored a franchise-record 60 in 1985. pic.twitter.com/rjJ4jKFSnZ
"It's kinda hard to put into words," Tatum said postgame about being mentioned alongside Bird. "Anytime you're mentioned in any category with someone like that, one of the greatest players ever, is an honor."
He also became the first Celtics player since Bird in 1989 to finish with at least 50 points and 10 rebounds.
"Tatum was super-special tonight," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, saying that Tatum's performance reminded him of IT, in the sense that he just wasn't gonna let us lose.
"Don't mistake his quiet demeanor for not being a competitor. He's a competitor."
The two-time All-Star was one of four to finish in double figures including a combined 50 by Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker as the Celtics clinched their fourth win in the last five games.
Boston have been so uncharacteristically inconsistent this season that going 4-1 is the best they've performed in a five-game stretch this season, and they've done so just thrice. Is this the win that helps start turning things around?
Only time will tell but their next game in Denver, against a Nuggets squad that has won eight straight, will be a good litmus test of this momentum.
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