A Look Back at Jayson Tatum's Record-Setting Week
After compiling one of the greatest individual weeklong stretches in franchise history, Celtics wing Jayson Tatum has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played from April 26 through May 2.
The NBA made the unsurprising announcement Monday afternoon following a week in which Tatum averaged a league-best 42.7 points on 54.4% shooting from the field (59.1 percent from 3-point range), 6.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists, during which time the Celtics produced a 2-1 record.
It marked the third time this season that Tatum has captured the weekly award, making him the first Celtic to accomplish such a feat since Kevin Garnett was a three-time recipient during Boston's 2007-2008 championship season.
Tatum’s highlight performance was a 60-point outpour that sparked a 32-point comeback over the San Antonio Spurs Friday night, which was bookended by two other elite efforts against Charlotte on Wednesday night and Portland on Sunday night.
Now, let’s take a look back at all three of those efforts, which resulted in Tatum penning his name under multiple sections of the franchise’s record book.
4/28 vs. Charlotte
One of the most intriguing aspects of Tatum winning Player of the Week was that he actually started the week on Boston’s injury report. He missed Tuesday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to a left ankle impingement, but he sure didn’t look hobbled when he returned to action the next night against Charlotte.
A well-rested and healthy Tatum nearly snagged a 30-point triple-double against the Hornets, as he put 35 in the scoring column, eight in the rebounding column, and eight more in the assisting column.
He shot 12-of-23 from the field, 4-of-10 from 3-point range, and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line during 40-plus minutes of action, as he and Jaylen Brown (38 points) guided the C’s to a 120-111 win over Terry Rozier and the Hornets.
4/30 vs. San Antonio
Tatum capped off a stellar month of April in storybook fashion Friday night, as he tied Larry Bird’s single-game scoring record while leading the Celtics to their largest comeback in team history.
Boston got off to a dismal start, as it trailed San Antonio 39-16 after one quarter and 77-48 at halftime, despite a 24-point first-half effort from Tatum. But in the second half, the Celtics picked up the pieces, all while Tatum continued to get hotter.
The 23-year-old poured in 36 more points after halftime, tying Bird’s single-game scoring record of 60 points. The Celtics, meanwhile, overcame a 32-point deficit, marking their greatest comeback in team history.
Tatum scored 31 points during the fourth quarter and overtime and secured his 60-piece with two makes from the free-throw line late in the extra period to seal a 143-140 win. Throughout the night, he shot 20-of-37 from the field, 5-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc, and 15-for-17 from the free-throw line, as he became the second-youngest player in NBA history to score 60 points in a game (23 years, 58 days) after Devin Booker (20 years, 145 days).
Tatum also impacted the game in other areas, as he corralled eight rebounds, five assists, and one block during 45 minutes of turnover-free action. He joined Carmelo Anthony and Klay Thompson as the only players in NBA history to score 60-plus points in a game while not committing any turnovers. Although Tatum’s case was more impressive than either of the other two since both Anthony and Thompson went assist-less during their respective efforts.
5/2 vs. Portland
Despite putting everything he had into Friday night's 60-point effort, Tatum somehow had enough gas left in his tank to deliver another high-scoring performance against Portland two nights later.
Tatum produced his most efficient game of the week Sunday night at TD Garden, where he scored 33 points while shooting 11-of-19 from the field, 4-of-5 from deep, and 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. He also dished out five assists, grabbed two rebounds, and blocked one shot during his 37 minutes of action in spite of his team suffering a 129-119 loss to the hot-handed Trail Blazers.
It was Tatum’s third consecutive game of logging at least 30-plus points and five-plus assists while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, marking the longest such stretch by a Celtics player since Bird in 1987-88. His 128 total points over that span also edged Bird’s previously-owned franchise mark of 126 points in a three-game stretch.
Unfortunately for Tatum, he ended the week on a rough note as he had to leave late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game after colliding with Jaylen Brown on a defensive possession. He limped off the court and did not return, but he seemed optimistic after the game saying his injured leg "should be OK.”
Hopefully, that means he’ll have a chance to defend his Player of the Week title over these next few games.