First 40 point game of the season
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum delivered his first 40-point night of the season, leading the way in a close victory against the Orlando Magic on Saturday.
Tatum’s night — while dominant — was also historical.
Scoring 40 points while shooting 14-for-21 from the field with eight rebounds and two blocks, Tatum became the all-time Celtics leading scorer through the first three games of the season, scoring 104 points and surpassing former great Larry Bird who scored 96 points in his 1984-85 MVP campaign.
The performance also served as Tatum’s 15th career 40-plus point showing.
“Feels good,” Tatum said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “Happy to just be back playing basketball after the summertime and after losing in the Finals. All I could think about was just getting ready to play and start a new chapter. I said it many times in the long, miserable summer. So I just wanted to get back out here, compete and just try to win. I don’t care how many points I score, I just wanna get back to that point. … I just try to come out here and win every game that we can.”
The 24-year-old wasn’t content and didn’t shy away from acknowledging the Celtics’ more underwhelming areas of play on full display during the win.
“We gotta play way better than this,” Tatum said. “It shouldn’t take the back-and-forth for us to play the right way on both ends. So we just gotta start better and play together. Way better than we did this game.”
Granted, the Celtics’ frontcourt and defensive struggles could easily be attributed to the absences of big men Al Horford and Robert Williams.
Nevertheless, the Celtics, now 3-0 this season, are back in action Monday against the Chicago Bulls. Tipoff at the United Center is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.