The Boston Celtics will play the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals after defeating the defending champions, Toronto Raptors, in seven games.
Jayson Tatum’s impressive 2019-20 season
Tatum is in his third season, and he has shown why he’s one of the top young players in the league. Going into the 2019-20 season, the Celtics were one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and one of the favorites to compete for an NBA title. The Celtics are filled with talented players like Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, and Marcus Smart. Tatum is seen as the team leader, and he knew that he would need to have a big year for the Celtics to be successful.
The 22-year-old was ready to prove that he had what it takes to lead the Celtics. In December of 2019, Tatum scored a then career-high 39 points and finished with 12 rebounds in a win over the Charlotte Hornets. Tatum’s offensive game has improved a lot since he entered the league. He’s effective in the one-on-one game and can beat you in multiple ways, whether getting to the hole from a few dribble moves or shooting that mid-range. During the offseason, Tatum spent time working with Kobe Bryant, and that really took his game to the next level.
In January, Tatum set a new career-high in points scoring 41 in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Tatum was named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career, and he was getting better and better as the season progressed. Tatum was the Celtics leading scorer during the regular season averaging 23.4 points, which is a career-high. He was also second on the team in rebounds and steals per game.
Jayson Tatum’s performance in the 2020 NBA Playoffs
Going into the playoffs, the Celtics took care of business in the first round. Boston took on the Philadelphia 76ers and dominated them the entire series. The Celtics swept the 76ers as Tatum led the team in scoring and rebounding averaging 27 points and 9.8 rebounds during the series.
Going into the second round, the Celtics took on the defending NBA champions. This was going to be a tough matchup for Boston, but they were ready for the challenge. Boston jumped out to a quick 2-0 series lead, and they would have taken a 3-0 lead if OG Anunoby did not hit that buzzer-beater with 0.5 seconds left. Nonetheless, Tatum stepped up for the Celtics. Once again, he led the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds. In Game 7, Tatum put together an impressive performance to help give Boston the win. He finished with a game-high 29 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists. Tatum has proved himself so far in the playoffs, and he will look to lead the Celtics past the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Jayson Tatum joining two NBA greats
After his Game 7 performance, Tatum is the third player in NBA history to lead both teams in scoring, rebounding, and assists in Game 7. The two other players to do so were LeBron James and former Celtics great Larry Bird. James did it during the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics when he had 35 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists. Bird did it during the 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Knicks when he finished with 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Tatum put himself up there with greatness, and he deserves to be on that list because he’s been playing at a high-level. He possesses that will to win, and he’s going to do whatever it takes to help his team win games. It’ll be an exciting series between the Celtics and the Heat, and look for Tatum to continue to play at a high-level.