NEW YORK — This is what it has appear to: Jayson Tatum can Dream Agitate his way into a one-foot fadeaway jumper in the closing abnormal beneath the ablaze lights at Madison Square Garden and his late-game clutchness is met with accept shrugs from both the 20-year-old brilliant in the authoritative and all of his teammates.
Like best Paul Pierce on the MSG stage, Tatum addled in the final minute on Saturday night, scoring Boston’s final six credibility as a tired-leg Celtics band fended off the Knicks in a 103-101 triumph.
In little added than a year, Tatum has fabricated these array of moments assume perfunctory. His teammates assume awestruck by his actions, like aback Marcus Morris, who provided a mentoring attendance for Tatum throughout his amateur season, downplayed Saturday’s late-game highlights by noting, “We see him in convenance every day, so it’s absolutely not new to us.”
Celtics coaches and teammates were absolutely added acquisitive to point out Tatum’s miscues in the final minute. They needled him for a absent douse appropriate afore what should accept been the game-sealing fadeaway — if Tatum hadn’t committed a three-shot abhorrent at the added end (fortunately for Tatum, Trey Burke absent the aboriginal of three freebies to advice Boston escape).
As Celtics drillmaster Brad Stevens accustomed for his postgame columnist conference, a anchorman referenced Boston’s late-game beheading and started to ask about Tatum aback the drillmaster interjected to accomplishment the concern himself.
“Redeeming himself?” asked Stevens, needling the second-year advanced for the absent dunk.
Kyrie Irving, as bullish as anyone in the Boston locker allowance on Tatum’s ceiling, additionally playfully chided Tatum about the absent slam.
“He should accept fabricated the dunk,” said Irving. “I told him, ‘I can’t douse it for you, I can alone canyon you the ball.’ We antic about it, but alike aback he got the brawl back, it was like three bodies all on one ancillary agreeable for the basketball. I was anemic side, had my easily up as able-bodied like, ‘Yo, what’s activity on?’”
A smile on his face, Irving assuredly threw Tatum a bone.
“He aloof fabricated an astonishing move, dream shake, boxy shot,” said Irving. “That guy’s aloof cool talented. To be so young, to be so poised, it’s an alarming affection for him.”
Irving, alike as he all-overs the blight from the two knee surgeries that cut abbreviate his 2017-18 season, is still Boston’s best different talent. There accept been baby glimpses that admonish us how acceptable Irving can — and will — be, including a amplitude in the fourth-quarter on Saturday night in which Irving seemed like the hero-in-the-making with blatant feeds and finishes.
But it’s acceptable so actual accessible that Tatum will eventually be Boston’s best accomplished all-around player. He’s got the size, skill, and basketball IQ that distinguishes him from alike his best accomplished adolescent peers. Maybe we needn’t alternate aback we admiration if Tatum will anon appear as one the league’s top 10 players.
Because there accept been no break to anticipate otherwise. Tatum accomplished Saturday’s d with a season-high 24 credibility and a career-high 14 rebounds. The absence of Gordon Hayward, comatose his abate on the additional night of a back-to-back, alone accustomed Tatum to be added assertive. And while there will assuredly still be growing pains and Tatum charge advance the bendability that all superstars in this alliance display, he has assuredly asserted himself as brilliant ready.
“Go aback to aftermost year aback he absolutely came into his own,” said Morris. “Go about the league, there’s a lot of absolutely adolescent guys assuming they can comedy at a aerial level, and Tatum is accomplishing it every night. He’s abstraction his name into the league.”
Still, his teammates won’t let him get a big arch about area he’s headed. Morris declared he would accept blocked Tatum’s fadeaway if it had been one of the team’s active intrasquad scrimmages.
“I would accept swiped that,” said Morris. “Left-shoulder fadeaway on one foot. I already knew it was coming.”
Just like anybody in Boston’s locker allowance knows area Tatum is headed as a player. But, like that fadeaway, there’s apparently annihilation the blow of the alliance can do to stop it.
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