The Boston Celtics were on their way to another disappointing matinee loss, trailing the New Orleans Pelicans by 18 points with only four minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Then, the C’s reversed the script, outscoring the Pels by 19 points in the second half.
This victory brings Boston to a 23-22 record, the first time they’ve been over .500 since December 7th. This portion of their schedule sets up nicely for them to stack up wins and hopefully get into the playoff picture, something they are already taking advantage of, winning five of their last six.
Without Marcus Smart (Health and Safety Protocols) and Robert Williams (birth of his child), this game was set to be more difficult than originally thought. However, the trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Dennis Schroder stepped up to the challenge, leading an unlikely second-half comeback.
The Boston Celtics picked up one of their more inspiring wins on Monday off the back of an impressive second-half performance.
Let’s look at 3 takeaways from the victory:
Boston Celtics takeaway No.1) An aggressive Jayson Tatum
After a first-half to forget for Jayson Tatum, the superstar came out with aggression in the final two quarters. Often, JT forgets that he’s bigger, faster, and stronger than almost everyone on the court, and doesn’t have to settle for stepback jump shots on every possession.
Sure, he can make those attempts work as he’s one of the best difficult shotmakers in the league, but he also has the ability to make life easier for himself.
In the second half alone, Tatum scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three assists. The perennial All-Star decided to take over the game by attacking the basket and finding open teammates in transition, as he realized he can challenge the combination of Jonas Valanciunas and Jaxson Hayes at the rim effortlessly.
In doing this, he also drew nine attempts at the free-throw line, hitting seven of them. This type of offense will translate Tatum into a more consistently dominant offensive player, rather than relying on his streaky jump shooting. Jayson Tatum going downhill with the ball in his hands is one of the most impossible players to stop in the entire league.
Monday’s second-half gave the fans a taste of how dominant he can be in these types of offensive sets, which, in turn, creates a more productive offense.
His ability to kick out to open shooters and cutters contributes to a more balanced offensive attack, rather than sitting on the perimeter and jacking up contested treys.
It was extremely encouraging to see Tatum’s takeover in the second half.