The best individual start to a season in Celtics history was also the best individual start in the Eastern Conference this season. Appropriately, Jayson Tatum has been named East Player of the Week for Week 1 of the 2022-23 campaign.
Tatum averaged an NBA-leading 34.7 points per game during the inaugural week of the season while shooting an impressive 58.3 percent from the field. He also corralled 8.3 rebounds, dished out 3.0 assists, snagged 1.0 steals, and blocked 1.7 shots per game while guiding his team to a perfect 3-0 record.
In the process, Tatum set the franchise record for most points through the first three games of a season with a league-best 104 points. He passed Larry Bird’s previous record of 96 points at the start of the 1984-85 season, which wound up being an MVP campaign for Larry Legend.
Tatum now also finds himself halfway to another Celtics record with his ninth career Player of the Week recognition – and his fourth in the past seven weeks dating back to last season. That places him third in franchise history behind Paul Pierce (17) and Bird (15). Being already halfway to Pierce’s mark, Tatum should have no trouble eventually smashing that record as well.
Now, let’s take a look back at the performances that made Tatum’s week stand out.
10/18 vs. Philadelphia
Tatum opened the season with a bang Tuesday night, dropping a double-double of 35 points and 12 rebounds in a 126-117 win at home over the Philadelphia 76ers. Jaylen Brown logged 35 in the scoring department as well, tying them both for the second-highest individual point totals in a season opener in franchise history. Tatum shot 13-of-20 from the field and 7-for-9 from the free-throw line while also logging four assists, one steal, and one block in 39 minutes of action.
10/21 at Miami
During Friday night’s rematch of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals in Miami, Tatum was the best player on the floor. He led the game in scoring with 29 points on 10-of-22 shooting, while also leading his team in assists with four, which boosted the C’s to a 111-104 win on the same court where they had become East Champions five months prior. Tatum rounded out his performance with five rebounds, two blocks, and a steal while turning the ball over just twice in 37 minutes of action. He also hit a couple of huge shots down the stretch, while Brown was on the bench due to foul trouble, which helped the C’s to sustain a late Heat run.
10/22 at Orlando
Tatum capped off the week with his best performance thus far, erupting for 40 points in a 126-120 win in Orlando. The superstar wing shot 14-of-21 from the field, 4-of-10 from 3-point range, and 8-of-9 from the free throw line in what was the 15th 40-point game of his career. He also grabbed eight rebounds, blocked two shots, dished out one assist, and snagged one steal, while turning the ball over only once in 38 minutes of action. During the fourth quarter, Tatum became the first player in franchise history to score at least 100 points within the first three games of a season. He easily passed Bird’s previous team record of 96, as he finished with 104 in the scoring column.