Jayson Tatum made a statement in the Boston Celtics' double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
The 21-year-old dropped 39 points while bringing down nine rebounds and locking down Clippers star Kawhi Leonard on the defensive end. It was the perfect way for Tatum to enter a weekend in which he'll play in his first career NBA All-Star Game.
But is he a "superstar"?
On the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, Kyle Draper and Chris Forsberg discuss that very question.
Forsberg considered Tatum to be right on the verge of superstardom for a while, but the Celtics' young gun pushed himself over the edge with Thursday night's performance.
At points during this 10-game stretch where he's just been amazing, I've just been like, "Alright, he's on the cusp of superstardom.' And I really feel like last night sort of pushed me over the edge, and I think it changed the -- instead of saying he's going to be, I think we can say he is a star now.
To me, the way he's taking over games late and the killer instinct he's playing with, the competition that he's doing it against suggests to me that at 21 years old, in only his third year in the league, Jayson Tatum has made the leap.
Draper mentions how as good as Tatum's scoring prowess has been, his stellar defense deserves more credit.
I think his defense is the most understated part of all of this. I mean, the 29 points over his last five or the 28 since Jan. 1, all that's exciting and everything, but this dude has turned into one of the top defenders.
For more on Tatum, as well as an in-depth conversation about the Celtics retiring Kevin Garnett's No. 5, check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, available on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network and YouTube.
Kemba Walker (28 points) and Gordon Hayward (19 points) carried the load offensively in what ended up being one of the lowest-scoring games for the Celtics in their past few simulations, which just goes to show how on fire they've been. They shined on the defensive end, tallying eight total steals and eight blocks.
With the game pretty much in hand, the C's second unit played for the entire fourth quarter. Rookie Romeo Langford was solid in his 12 minutes, contributing nine points, a steal, and an assist.
This was a disastrous offensive performance by the Pacers as they were unable to get any semblance of momentum throughout the contest. Malcolm Brogdon struggled from the field but was able to get nine of his 17 points from the free-throw line. Domontas Sabonis was the only real bright spot as he shot 7-for-10 from the field for 16 points while bringing down nine rebounds.
All you need to do is look at the field goal percentages and 3-point percentages (ZERO for Indiana!) to figure out what happened here. Boston dominated in pretty much every other major category too, despite possessing the ball for nine minutes less than the Pacers.
FINAL SCORE: Celtics 101, Pacers 77
Four games remain in the NBA 2K Celtics' regular-season schedule as they ride a 12-game win streak into their matchup vs. the Orlando Magic. Can they extend the streak to 13? Check back Friday to find out.
With no Boston Celtics basketball on the docket for a while due to the coronavirus pandemic, there's no better time to reminisce on some of the greatest moves in the team's history.
NBC Sports Boston's longtime Celtics play-by-play voice Mike Gorman joined the latest Celtics Talk Podcast to discuss the best trades the organization has made. Of course, the ones for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen that formed the "Big Three" immediately come to mind. But to Gorman, the best deal in franchise history is a no-brainer.
Gorman's No. 1 Celtics trade ever is the one that brought the great Bill Russell to Boston.
When Red [Auerbach] got Russell -- I mean, when you pull off a trade where you get three Hall of Famers in the first round of the draft, 'cause K.C. Jones was on the tail end of that and nobody talks about him. Tommy [Heinsohn] was the rookie of the year. And you get Bill Russell, who goes on to win 11 championships and is MVP five times.
That's got to be the best trade ever for Ed Macauley who was a good player but certainly not a great player. And Cliff Hagan who was a good player but not a great player. Neither one of those guys was going to do anything anywhere near what Bill Russell did to the Celtics. I think the Russell trade has to be the best trade maybe in the history of sports.
The runner-up? That would be the deal 40 years ago that landed Hall of Famers Robert Parish and Kevin McHale.
Again, it was a situation where Red traded and ended up with two Hall of Famers and gave up Joe Barry Carroll whose whole career was a massive disappointment. You would have thought that no one would deal with Red again [after the Russell trade] ... But yeah, to get Kevin McHale and Robert Parish in a draft, and both of them end up going to the Hall of Fame, and you gave up a guy again who had a marginal career ...
Gorman also discussed what he's been up to in quarantine, as well as what the Celtics' ceiling is if/when the season resumes.