By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Jayson Tatum continues to build on his breakout season, inching closer and closer to superstar status for the Boston Celtics. He’s also flirting with some Celtics team history after a 36-point outburst against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
Boston’s 118-106 win in the City of Roses was Tatum’s 10th 30-point game of the season. As you may have heard, perhaps a little too often, he is only 21. Tatum is now one off of Antoine Walker’s Celtics record of eleven 30-plus point games during his age-21 season in 1997-98.
Tatum is doing it all without a patented wiggle, too. He followed up Sunday’s 41-point outburst in a loss to the Lakers by canning a career-high eight of his 12 three pointers against the Blazers, hitting 14 of his 22 attempts from the floor overall.
LeBron James dubbed Tatum “a problem” after Sunday’s game, a nickname that rings more and more true with every game. Tatum has taken his offense to a new stratosphere, essentially taking over games for Boston while decimating opposing defenses. He opened the fourth quarter on Tuesday by scoring 11 of Boston’s first 13 points, sinking a trio of threes and adding a nice mid-range jumper over the outstretched Hassan Whiteside.
Tatum finished his 1:51 scoring siege with a 30-foot triple — again over Whiteside.
oh dear. pic.twitter.com/Yhz1ex8Df7
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) February 26, 2020
And for good measure, he also had a highlight reel dunk where he outran a trio of Blazers team in transition in the third quarter.
🚂full speed ahead pic.twitter.com/lQ5nBkjXhE
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 26, 2020
Tatum has now scored at least 28 points in the last four games, with Boston going 3-1 over that stretch. He’s averaging 30 points over his last 10 games and 23.1 points per game for the season.
The rest of the league is taking notice of Tatum and his ability to take over games. Following Tuesday’s win, it was Carmelo Anthony’s turn to pass along the praise.
“I love him. He’s a guy that is establishing himself as we’re all witnessing, we’re all watching. I love his game, I love watching him play,” said Melo.
There’s a lot of vintage Melo the way Tatum has been playing lately, though Tatum actually makes an impact on defense as well. Carmelo didn’t have a new nickname for Boston’s rising star, but the two exchanged jerseys, much to Tatum’s delight.
“Oh man. Besides Kobe, Melo’s probably one of my top three favorite players,” Tatum said of the trade. “I studied him so much growing up. I’m one of his biggest fans.”
The torch is slowly being passed to the NBA’s young stars, and Tatum right at the head of the pack. His star is rising higher and higher every night, and super stardom on the horizon.