BOSTON -- It wasn’t that long ago when Jayson Tatum scoring 20 points was a big deal.
Sure, he’s had that potential in him all the time.
But that line that exists between potential and proven body of work, is better known as consistency.
And that is exactly what we got from Jayson Tatum in Boston’s 119-104 win over Golden State.
It was Tatum’s first game after being named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve earlier in the day.
“I’m extremely excited," Tatum told TNT's Allie LaForce following the Celtics win. "It has always been a dream of mine. I’m super-grateful; can’t wait to celebrate with my family.”
Tatum finished with 20 points on 7-for-14 shooting with six rebounds, doing so in less than 24 minutes of court time.
“It was fun. It felt good to finally be back,” Tatum said. “I only missed a week but it felt like I hadn’t played in a month."
The good playin’ days for Gordon Hayward continue to roll along.
Boston had its full package of wings available, but Hayward’s strong play continued as he led the Celtics with 25 points and eight rebounds with three assists.
Being the best basketball version of himself has been a big part of Hayward’s strong play of late, showing more aggressiveness and being more assertive with his moves and actions on the floor.
It all adds up to Hayward making a significant impact when he’s on the floor, regardless of which Celtics are in or out of the lineup.
Lots of players stepped up to make plays on Thursday, but few hit as many big shots for Boston, than Smart.
Smart would finish the night with 21 points which included 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
He has made it a point to not just talk about being a better two-way player, but actually do the things that players who impact the game at a high level, do on both ends of the floor.
Defensively, Smart was really good, which is no surprise.
And his offense continues to show the kind of growth the Celtics need not only at the moment, but also going forward if they are to have the kind of deep playoff run that they have their sights set on having.
The job Boston did on the glass was very much a team effort. The Celtics won the battle of the boards by a decisive 51-30 margin. A slightly deeper dive into the numbers reveals that Boston had 10 players who grabbed at least three rebounds, the kind of on-the-glass balance that speaks to the all-in approach Boston takes to rebounding.
Making it all the more impressive was the team’s best rebounder, Enes Kanter, remains out due to a hip injury.
Daniel Theis and Grant Williams did a solid job holding their own on the glass most of the game, but it was Boston’s wing players whose collective efforts were a huge factor in Boston getting the win.
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