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Jayson Tatum sits out Celtics-Grizzlies game due to illness

Tatum’s absence comes as the Celtics are attempting to establish a stronger foothold in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Boston’s search for stability continues, albeit without Jayson Tatum for at least one night. The Celtics’ All-Star forward would miss Monday’s game against the Grizzlies due to illness, the team announced before tipoff.

Tatum is averaging a career-high 24.9 points while shooting 38.1% from 3-point range in his fourth season. He and Jaylen Brown have formed one of the most talented young duos in the league.

Boston, however, has struggled to build consistency around the pair of promising swingmen. The Celtics have not been more than three games above .500 since January. Injuries to Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart, as well as a bout with COVID-19 for Tatum, have limited the team’s ability to rebound.

Entering Monday’s game, the Celtics (21-21) held just a half-game lead for the sixth and final guaranteed playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Teams placed seventh through 10th will participate in the Play-In Tournament, with the two winners claiming the seventh and eighth seeds.