Celtics

Stars, studs and duds: Tatum hits 'huge' three-pointers vs. Hawks

Stars, studs and duds: Tatum hits 'huge' three-pointers vs. Hawks

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.

 

STARS

Kyrie Irving

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.

Dennis Schroder

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.

Jayson Tatum

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.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

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.

Dewayne Dedmon

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.

Marco Belinelli

The Hawks got a nice lift off the bench from Belinelli who had 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field.

 

DUDS

Celtics Defense

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.

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Knicks, Nets reportedly in mix for Kyrie-Butler combo in '19

Knicks, Nets reportedly in mix for Kyrie-Butler combo in '19

Remember those rumors of Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler teaming up in free agency next year? Well, that buzz is back and Boston isn't the rumored destination.

Two league sources told Business Insider that the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets could be well-positioned to land the two players, with one source saying the chatter is "substantial."

"It wouldn't surprise me if either New York team or potentially both New York teams hit it big next summer," one source said.

That echoes a Chicago Sun-Times report from July which said the Celtics and Timberwolves stars had been talking about how they could team up. Each player can opt out after this season and Irving has made it known he'll be heading to free agency. The Kyrie-to-the-Knicks rumors have been around for a while. 

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Paul Pierce says if Celtics learn to sacrifice, they'll win title

Paul Pierce says if Celtics learn to sacrifice, they'll win title

If there's anyone who knows what it takes to be a champion, it's Paul Pierce. So when the Celtics legend speaks, it would be best for the current team's young stars to heed his words.

According to a report from Boston.com, Pierce touched on what this current squad needs to learn if they want to hang the team's eighteenth championship banner from the rafters of TD Garden.

"When you have that type of talent, they're going to have to learn to sacrifice," Pierce said at a charity event in Brookline on Friday morning. "Not everybody is going to be able to accomplish maybe the individual goals they want to accomplish, but the team's greater goal should be all that matters."

The Celtics, who have made the Eastern Conference Finals the past two seasons but were vanquished both times by LeBron James' Cavaliers, saw perhaps their greatest obstacle in competing for a championship disappear when James signed with the Lakers in free agency. With one of the most talented rosters in the NBA, Boston has built a team capable of getting over the hump and winning a title.

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"You have to sacrifice if you are truly committed to winning a championship," Pierce added. "They're going to win a lot of games, but unless they sacrifice--because we know they're going to be better than probably what their numbers show--if they can sacrifice they'll win a championship this year. Because the talent is definitely there."

If there is one player on the current roster who can show that championship mentality to young stars like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, it's Kyrie Irving. However, much of the talk surrounding Irving, who won a championship with the Cavaliers in 2016, this offseason has been about him potentially leaving Boston after the season in free agency.

"Kyrie is a competitor," Pierce said. "He's won a championship. He knows -- if they win again he'll get whatever contract he wants. He's an extraordinary talent and he knows that winning trumps everything. If you win, everybody wins."

The Celtics start their quest for their eighteenth title on October 16 when they host Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.