Stars, studs and duds: Tatum 'going to be a heck of a shooter'

Stars, studs and duds: Tatum 'going to be a heck of a shooter'

BOSTON – Following Boston’s 111-100 win over Milwaukee, Marcus Morris could only shake his head when the topic of discussion centered on Jayson Tatum.

Tatum finished with 17 points on 5-for-6 shooting. Of his 17 points, 14 came in the first quarter.

“You come out (scoring) like that, you should have a career high by the end of the night,” Morris quipped.

No need to rush things.

The 19-year-old rookie will have plenty of opportunities in the future to build upon what has been a strong foundation in his first NBA season.

It’s not just a coincidence that what head coach Brad Stevens saw as the best “we’ve played offensively all year” in the first half, was also the best half of play for Tatum this season.

What continues to stand out about Tatum is his consistency in terms of shooting the ball.

He came into Monday’s game shooting a league-best 48.6 percent from 3-point range.

That figure rose to 51.3 percent after Monday’s game in which he was 4-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line.

“It’s just repetition,” Tatum said.

Said Al Horford: “It was just a lot of fun to see him have some success early and I feel like because of those three’s he kind of opened the game up for the rest of us.”

The Celtics felt good about Tatum’s perimeter shooting leading up to the draft.

But it was his workout that sold them on him potentially being a big-time, long-range shooter sooner rather than later.

“When he came in for his workout … he made a lot of shots. And it looked effortless, and that’s usually a pretty good sign,” Stevens said. “He’s going to be a heck of a shooter.”

And as far as that career high?

“Maybe next time,” said Tatum, grinning.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 111-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.



Giannis Antetokounmpo

The scary part about the Greek Freak’s play was the Celtics actually did a good job of contesting a lot of his shots. It didn’t do a lot of good, with Antetokounmpo finishing with 40 points on 14-for-24 shooting with nine rebounds and four assists.

Kyrie Irving

The points continue to come right on time for Irving and the Celtics. Irving led Boston with 32 points on 13-for-24 shooting along with four rebounds and two steals.

Al Horford

The impact of Horford on this Celtics team at both ends of the floor continues to be one of the team’s keys to success. It was yet another highly efficient night at the office for Horford who had a near triple-double of 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting to go with nine rebounds and eight assists with one blocked shot.



Jayson Tatum

He came out the gates red-hot for Boston, scoring 14 of his 17 points in the first quarter. He also had six rebounds.

Eric Bledsoe

The Bucks are playing better basketball lately, and the addition of Bledsoe has a lot to do with it. Against the Celtics, he had 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting with three rebounds and three assists.

Khris Middleton

Middleton did a lot of good things for the Bucks offensively, scoring 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting along with eight rebounds and five assists, two steals and a blocked shot.



Marcus Morris

This was not one of his better nights shooting the ball. He was among the legion of defenders Boston called upon to help limit the Greek Freak. But unlike most of his teammates, Morris just didn’t have it going offensively tonight. He finished with three points while missing five of his six shot attempts from the field.


Celtics have shown a knack for the comeback this year

AP Photo

Celtics have shown a knack for the comeback this year

BOSTON -- As I made my way towards the Boston Celtics locker room following their 100-99 win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, I walked past co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, who, as you might expect, was pleased with what he had just witnessed.
“That was a good one,” he said.
That’s one way to describe it.


But explaining the Houdini-like way the Celtics seem to get out of some serious jams over and over again, and against really good teams, is indeed a head-scratcher for most.
It’s getting to the point where we’re running out of fresh adjectives to describe this team, which has a knack for the comeback.
“Improbable” doesn’t do justice to how Boston’s hit-the-lottery luck has played out so often on nights when it seemed on the doorstep of defeat.
And this town loves a good comeback story, whether it’s Tom Brady leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl win after being down by 25 points, or the Celtics spotting the NBA champ Golden State Warriors a 17-point cushion before rallying for a meaningful November win -- a rarity in the NBA.
But the obscure and unexpected have become standard in this seemingly alternate basketball universe that the Celtics play in, one that we have been bearing witness to all season.

I mean, look at their body of work:

DECEMBER 18: Down by one on the road at Indiana in the closing seconds of play in what appears to be a tough road loss, Terry Rozier steals and races down the floor looking like Deion Sanders in high-tops, for a game-winning dunk.

DECEMBER 28: Trailing the Houston Rockets by 26 points in the third quarter, they rally back and steal the win with not one, but two offensive fouls drawn in the last minute by Marcus Smart against perennial league MVP candidate James Harden.

JANUARY 11: In London, they erased a 22-point deficit and defeated Philly.

FEBRUARY 4: There was a buzzer-beater by Al Horford to beat Portland on Super Bowl Sunday.

And . . . well, you get the idea.

Boston has six wins by a single point this season, which is tied with Miami for the season lead and is one shy of tying the franchise record for one-point wins in a season. 

In addition, Boston has won 10 games this season in which it fell behind by 12 or more points. 
Winning so many games under less-than-ideal circumstances has not only padded the Celtics' win total, but also reinforced this team with a Teflon-strong mindset. They believe they're tthe ultimate practitioner of basketball necromancy, consistently finding a way to rise up from the basketball graveyard of defeat and win in dramatic fashion.

Like they did Tuesday night against the Thunder.

How can you bank on Carmelo Anthony, a career 81.2 percent free-throw shooter, missing a pair with less than nine seconds to play?
Or botching the play Brad Stevens drew up at the end of the game -- "We kind of messed [it] up," said Jayson Tatum -- but, rather than it leading to a turnover, instead becoming a game-winning 3-pointer by Marcus Morris with 1.8 seconds to spare? 


 It was another crazy ending in what has been a season filled with bizarre finishes, jaw-dropping rallies and a never-say-it’s-over brand of basketball that has kept Celtics fans on the edge of their seats all season.
“It’s great to be in a situation where you’re down six with under a minute to play or whatever it was, and you find a way to win the game,” said Stevens. “That’s going to be pretty unique, but they just kept playing the next possession and we were fortunate that that shot went down. That was a heck of a shot by Marcus."
A heck of a shot?
But in this bizarro world of Celtics basketball this season, it was predictable as the Thunder became yet another team to play Boston and leave wondering the same thing most Celtics fans do … “Did THAT just happen?


Kevin Garnett predicts Marcus Morris' game-winner right before it happens

Kevin Garnett predicts Marcus Morris' game-winner right before it happens

Kevin Garnett was paying close attention to Tuesday night's thriller between the Celtics and Thunder.

MORE - Blakely's stars, studs, and duds from C's-Thunder

On KG's Area 21, the former Celtics great watched as Boston rallied in the game's final minute to make a stunning comeback. Right before Marcus Morris drilled the game-winner, Garnett called it by saying, "The Morris twin will end up shooting this or something because he like 'yeah I'm about the moment'"

Not a bad call. Morris certainly was "about the moment" Tuesday night as he has been multiple times this season.