Jayson Tatum joined a legend in the Celtics’ record book Friday night.
The fourth-year pro tied Larry Bird’s franchise single-game scoring record with 60 points in Boston’s 143-140 overtime victory over the Spurs. Tatum matched the 60 that Bird scored on March 12, 1985, against the Hawks.
According to NBA.com, Tatum is the second-youngest player to score 60 in a game, behind only Devin Booker (20 years, 145 days on March 24, 2017, vs. the Celtics).
Tatum shot 20 for 37 from the floor (5 for 7 from 3-point distance) and 15 for 17 from the free throw line as he led Boston back from a 32-point first-half deficit. He put up 21 points in the fourth quarter and 10 more in OT. Two of his biggest buckets put the Celtics up in the closing seconds of regulation and overtime, respectively.
A look at those two baskets, plus reactions by Tatum and others to his performance:
Tatum hit a 3-pointer with 38.0 seconds remaining in regulation to put the Celtics ahead 127-126. It was their first lead since 5-4 in the first quarter. The bucket gave him 49 points.
He later made one of two free throws to put Boston up by two. The miss opened the door for San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan to tie the game by making two free throws with 10.8 seconds left. Tatum then missed a potential game-winner at the end of regulation.
In overtime, he gave the Celtics a 136-135 lead on a fadeaway jumper with 51.8 seconds to play.
Jaylen Brown’s 3-pointer with 16.7 seconds to play gave the Celts the lead for good. Tatum sealed the victory and tied Bird’s mark by going 4 of 4 from the line.
What was said
“I mean, obviously, anytime you’re mentioned with a top-10 player of all time … obviously that is a good thing. It’s something I never, I think, would have imagined at this age. I just come out here and play the game that I love and try to play at a high level. Once you kind of sit back after the game or just think about what it means for your name to be up there, it’s just us two, and all the players that came before you who put on this uniform. I mean, yes, it’s a big deal and I’m for sure grateful for the position that I’m in. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s a surreal feeling.”
Celtics wing Jaylen Brown:
“He did exactly what a great player is supposed to do. He was efficient, led us, hit timely shots, big baskets, real big-boy basketball.” Brown also said the 23-year-old Tatum “is destined for greatness.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens:
“He was amazing. You could see it all night. Thank goodness he was there in the first (quarter) or else it would have been 30-something to nothing, because I think it was 31- or 33-12 (eventually 37-12) and he had all 12.”
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