The three-time All-Star officially passed the three-time MVP for most 50-point games in Boston Celtics history after he scored a season-high 51 points on 15-23 shooting from the field, 7-12 from beyond the arc, and a perfect 14-14 from the charity stripe to lead Boston to a 130-118 win over Charlotte. Tatum has posted more 50-point games than Bird and Paul Pierce COMBINED.
“He makes me look like a better coach,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said per ESPN. “He didn’t settle for shots; he got catch-and-shoots, he got off the dribbles, he got layups. The other piece of that is the humility of our team to really work with him to get those 51 points.”
JAYSON TATUM 51 PIECE
HE DROPPED 18 PTS IN Q4 pic.twitter.com/dinmve9N8T
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2023
Tatum’s 51-point effort was his first 50-point outing since he scored 54 and 51 last season and notched a career-high 60 points during the 2020-21 campaign. Tatum has tied Gilbert Arenas for the third-best scoring performance on MLK Day after Agent Zero dropped 51 points in 2007.
“It’s been a while since I scored 50,” Tatum said per Yahoo Sports. “So I needed that one.”
Tatum scored his 51st point with 38 seconds left after knocking down his seventh triple of the evening, which drew “MVP ” chants from the Charlotte crowd. After Charlotte cut Boston’s lead to 98-95 following a pair of free throws from Jaden McDaniels, Tatum came in and responded with 18 fourth-quarter points to put the game out of reach.
Boston (33-12) holds the top spot in the League after Tuesday and is 4.5 games ahead of Brooklyn (27-15) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
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