The Boston Celtics earned a hard-fought double-overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, 141-133.
Here are three instant overreactions to the C's win, which brings them to 38-16 heading into the All-Star break:
1. Jayson Tatum has reached superstar status.
Verdict: Slight overreaction
First off, this was just an absolutely incredible performance from Jayson Tatum both offensively and defensively. He was virtually unstoppable, leading all scorers with 39 points while adding nine rebounds, one steal, and a block. It was undoubtedly the best game of his young career.
This was the icing on the cake for Tatum as he's been on a tear over the last couple of weeks. He is Boston's MVP, but is it time to consider him a true superstar?
Personally, I want to see how the 21-year-old fares in the playoffs before we award him the "superstar" label. If he can string together more of these performances on the big stage this season, it'll be time to have that conversation. Until then, let's simply sit back and marvel at what he's accomplishing in Year 3.
TATUM 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/MP8WqZiwnY— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) February 14, 2020
2. Celtics clearly need to add bench help via the buyout market.
The major discrepancy in this game was bench points as the Celtics only had 19 total between Semi Ojeleye, Enes Kanter, and Brad Wanamaker in the double-OT contest. The Clippers had 54.
Despite the lack of bench depth, Danny Ainge made it clear Thursday morning he isn't interested in what's available on the buyout market. And as much as those aforementioned numbers make it seem like Ainge needs to make an addition, the game's final result said otherwise.
Without Jaylen Brown (ankle), the Celtics still managed to light up a defensive-minded Clippers squad. Marcus Smart filled in admirably with 31 points (10-of-20 shooting) and both Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker came alive down the stretch to finish with 21 and 19 points respectively.
Moral of the story: There's enough firepower on this team to overcome any bench shortcomings. Especially once rotations are shorter in the playoffs.
3. A Celtics-Clippers NBA Finals series would be an instant classic.
Verdict: Not an overreaction
What. A. Game.
Both of the Celtics' overtime games this season have come against the Clippers, and that may be a sign of more thrillers to come between these two squads. At least, we hope that's the case.
There's no doubt this would be one of the more entertaining NBA Finals matchups. The star power certainly would be there, and it's safe to say after watching Thursday night's game that the drama would be too.
It won't be an easy road to the finals for either team, but both are capable of making a run. And if they do meet up again for a chance at a championship, we'll be treated to an instant classic.