BOSTON (CBS) — Not that anybody needs any reminders these days, but the few thousand fans scattered around the arena in Tampa for a home game of the Toronto Raptors on Monday night provided the perfect picture that “normal” remains nowhere to be found as we all embark on the first week of 2021.
Yet while everything about a Raptors home game in Florida is bizarre, Monday night’s game did mark the first time the Celtics have played in front of fans since last March. After the coronavirus pandemic forced the league’s shutdown, the Celtics obviously played in the bubble all summer. Since the shortened 2020-21 season has begun, the Celtics had only played in empty arenas until Monday.
Plenty of Celtics fans could be seen scattered around the lower bowl of Amalie Arena, too. Yet even aside from that, Celtics star Jayson Tatum appreciated the chance to simply play in front of fans again.
“Man, it felt great. I missed playing in front of people,” Tatum said. “There was a lot of Boston fans here today, so that was different, just seeing people in the stands. But I enjoyed it. Toronto’s got a great setup. I mean, they got fans out here. So that’s love.”
Tatum put forth another monster performance for Boston, scoring 40 points with six rebounds and a pair of assists in the 126-114 win.