On Sunday, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum came off a losing streak in legendary fashion.
In an afternoon win over the Wizards, Tatum exploded with 51 points, shooting 18-for-28 from the field, 9-for-14 from 3-point range and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Tatum’s nine 3-pointers are a career best, surpassing the seven he set earlier in the season.
✨ 51 POTS ✨
A career-high 9 3PM on his way to 51 PTS…Jayson Tatum is PLAYING!
Watch it now on NBA League Pass: https://t.co/ksZ27WgfCO pic.twitter.com/WNte1cPW1U
— NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2022
What makes this performance so impressive is just how poorly Tatum had been shooting this season but, more specifically, this past week. Before Sunday, Tatum had missed 21 of his last 22 3-point attempts, lowering his shooting percentage for the season to a career-low 31.1 percent.
Jayson Tatum is 1-22 from three in his last 4 games.
— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 22, 2022
Sunday’s performance won’t bring his lap percentage to 38.0 percent of his career, but it’s a step in the right direction.
It wasn’t just shooting, as Tatum also had 10 rebounds and seven assists to complete the game for the Celtics, who returned to .500 and moved past the Wizards in the standings with the win.
Now, back to punctuation.
Tatum was focused from the get-go, scoring 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting in the first half alone. He didn’t slow down either, adding another 17 points in the third quarter to enter the final frame with 48 points. In the fourth, Boston pushed to get their superstar to the 50-point mark, but it didn’t take long as he reached 50 with a layup and added a technical free throw to bring his total to 51 before calling it off. night.
I mean, it was pretty efficient.
Sunday marks the third time Tatum has scored 50 or more points in the regular season and also added a 50-point performance in the playoffs and one in the NBA Play-In Tournament. He is the second Celtic this season to score 50 in a game, with Jaylen Brown scoring 50 just three weeks earlier on Sunday 2 January.
The only other Celtics duo to score 50 points in the same season? Larry Bird and Kevin McHale during the 1984-85 campaign.
Tatum and Brown did it in the same month.
With the performance, Tatum all but solidified his case for what should be a third straight NBA All-Star selection. With the uncertainty surrounding Nets forward Kevin Durant for this year’s game, Tatum could be in the running as an injury replacement starter in this year’s game, which falls on Feb. 20, 2022.
We’ll see if Sunday’s performance propels Tatum and the Celtics to the final 30-plus games of the season.