Celtics

SI: Celtics' Tatum is 'most likely to succeed' NBA rookie

SI: Celtics' Tatum is 'most likely to succeed' NBA rookie

Sports Illustrated was passing out the superlatives for the upcoming NBA's season's rookie class and Celtics' forward Jayson Tatum is their "most likely to succeed."

But SI calls No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz the "most likely to win rookie of the year." So apparently, SI, via writer Deante Prince, are higher on the long-term development of Tatum. 

Here's Prince's assessment of the rookie the Celtics traded down to the No. 3 spot for (Tatum says the C's would have selected him, and not Fultz, even if they had kept the No. 1 pick): 

There are players with glitzier games and bigger shoe contracts, but few are more versatile than Jayson Tatum, who flashed the full range of his talents at Summer League. He’s been called Paul George Lite before, but the comparison feels more apt now. Obviously that projection hinges on how he develops. In Boston, though, he will have the luxury of being brought along slowly. Celtics president Danny Ainge coveted Tatum so much that one has to believe his future in Boston will be a bright one.

Among SI's other superlatives is "Most Likely to Have a Parent Storm the Court" - the Lakers' Lonzo Ball, and his omnipresent father, LaVar, are the runaway winners there. 

Blakely's takeaways: C's put entire league on notice

Blakely's takeaways: C's put entire league on notice

BOSTON – You had to figure Golden State’s explosive offense would probably come up a little short scoring-wise against the Boston Celtics and their top-rated defense. 

But for them to score 88 points – that’s about 32 below their average – was very one of those, “where the hell did that come from?” moments. 

And it was exactly what the Celtics needed to escape with a 92-88 win that extended their winning streak to 14 in a row but maybe most important, put the entire league on notice that this streak they’re on right now … it’s real. 

“They wrote us off coming in, saying Golden State was gonna beat us, and do this and do that,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “We came out and played basketball. Even though we got down, the make-up of our team is staying in; we’re resilient.”

Here are five takeaways from Boston’s signature win of the season, 92-88 over Golden State which extended Boston’s winning streak to 14 straight. 

 

BROWN’S GROWTH

Jaylen Brown was playing with a heavy heart less than 24 hours after the death of his best friend. But as we’ve seen in this still-young season, Brown is very much one of the league’s emerging talents. He certainly played that role on Thursday in leading Boston with 22 points with seven rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.  

 

TALE OF TWO HALVES FOR TATUM

There’s something about the second half of games against elite players that brings out the best in Jayson Tatum. When Boston opened the season at Cleveland, Tatum was noticeably better in the second half than the first. And in Thursday’s win over Golden State, it was more of the same. In the first half he had just two points only to finish with a 10-point second half (7 coming in the fourth) for a 12-point game on 2-for-5 shooting. 

 

AL HORFORD

As well as he’s played, a strong case can be made for Horford being a league MVP instead of their leading scorer, Kyrie Irving. Horford tallied a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds to go with a pair of assists. Horford now has six double-doubles this season which equals his double-double total from all of last season. 

 

MARCUS SMART

As much as you know Smart makes great effort plays consistently and does indeed make a difference when he’s on the court, his shooting woes are reaching critical mass even as Boston continues to gobble up wins. In the last five games, Smart has averaged 7.6 points. That’s not too bad, right? But then you look and see that he’s shooting 19.2 percent (10-for-52) in that span. Ouch! So far, the Celtics have been able to find success despite his shooting struggles. But you have to anticipate at some point it’ll catch up with them. 

 

SHORTENED ROTATION

For most of this season, pretty much everyone who suits up for the Celtics, have played. But against the Warriors, it had the feel of a playoff-like rotation with head coach Brad Stevens playing 10 guys with nine reaching double digits in minutes played. Considering how the second unit struggled to make shots (they missed 17 of their 19 shot attempts), it’s understandable why head coach Brad Stevens leaned a little heavier than usual on his second unit.