Will Jayson Tatum have a 'Flu Game' against the Bucks?

The Boston Celtics have listed Jayson Tatum as questionable with an illness ahead of their game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Tatum has played incredible basketball against the Bucks in recent years, and he could be primed for a "Flu Game" masterclass.
Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks
Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Jayson Tatum could be primed for a “Flu Game” masterpiece tonight when the Boston Celtics take on the Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics listed Tatum as questionable with a non-COVID illness this morning, but Tatum has made it a habit of playing through injury and illness designations since he entered the league.

Tatum seems to hit another level when he faces Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Michael Jordan’s iconic “Flu Game” in the 1997 NBA Finals saw the basketball legend drop 38 points in a Game 5 win while experiencing flu-like symptoms. Tatum surpassed that point total in each of his two games against Milwaukee last season.

On a 2022 Christmas Day beatdown, Tatum put Giannis on a poster and hung 41 on his conference rival en route to a 139-118 win. Later in the season, JT put up 40 points on 12/18 shooting from the field and 8/10 shooting from three during a 140-99 massacre in Milwaukee.

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has history of tormenting Bucks

Over his last five meetings with the Bucks, Tatum has averaged 36.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. The peak of Tatum’s recent Milwaukee dominance came in the 2022 second round when the superstar wing put together the best game of his career in an elimination situation. Tatum detonated for 46 points and seven 3-pointers in a Game 6 road win that leveled a classic playoff battle at three games apiece. Of course, Boston went on to make the NBA Finals that year.

While the C’s have tagged Tatum with a  “questionable” designation ahead of their duel for the No. 1 seed, fans should expect the iron-man forward to play through his illness and suit up against Milwaukee. Since he was drafted, Tatum has played the most minutes of anyone in the NBA with a whopping 19,068 minutes of action in the regular season and playoffs combined. Nikola Jokic has played the second-most minutes with 17,587.

Tatum has also played the most games in that span with 547 contests in the regular season and playoffs combined. He has never missed more than eight games in a regular season, and he has not missed a game so far in the 2023-24 campaign. Needless to say, Tatum doesn’t miss time often. 

With all eyes on an ESPN showdown between the two giants of the Eastern Conference, an epic “Flu Game” is very much on the table for the great Jayson Tatum.