As Jayson Tatum stood answering questions from the media following Monday’s 110-107 win at Atlanta, his stoic, laid-back demeanor masks an absolute cold-blooded scoring assassin.
Kyrie Irving came up with big shots down the stretch for Boston, but Tatum delivered a dagger shot or two of his own as Boston (9-2) extended its winning streak to nine straight which is tops in the NBA this season.
Tatum had 21 points and eight rebounds which included a 3-pointer with less than a minute to play that gave Boston a 107-103 lead which was soon followed by an Atlanta Hawks time-out with 46.7 seconds to play.
After the made shot, you could tell that Tatum was happy but aware that there was plenty of time left to play and his focus needed to be on finishing the game off in whatever role he’s tasked with to complete.
“We’re going to be ready for everybody to be ready to take advantage of their opportunities,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “Tatum’s threes were were huge.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 110-107 win over Atlanta to extend their winning streak to nine in a row with Boston becoming the first team in NBA history to lose its first two games and bounce back to win nine in a row.
Irving had yet another strong performance for the Celtics when they absolutely needed him most, scoring 12 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter.
He has been the Hawks’ best player all season and Monday was no exception. He led Atlanta with 23 points with six assists and two steals.
The 19-year-old rookie continues to play beyond his years, finishing with 21 points and eight rebounds which included a clutch 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter.
This season he has been arguably the best two-way player in the league, and delivered another all-around gem for Boston. Horford had a near triple-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Where the hell did this face-up, perimeter shooting game come from? Dedmon was a major factor in keeping the Hawks in the game, finishing with a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The Hawks got a nice lift off the bench from Belinelli who had 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field.
Easily Boston’s worst defensive night of the season, Atlanta shot 48.1 percent from the field, and shot 50 percent (13-for-26) from 3-point range.