NBA

'If you get that close to 50, go get it' - Jayson Tatum reveals mindset after seventh 50-point game

By Sports Desk January 16, 2023

Jayson Tatum revealed it was a text from three-time Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford that inspired him to push for 50 points during the Boston Celtics' 130-118 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

Tatum had 40 points with just over three minutes remaining in the contest, leading by seven, before he hit a pair of free throws and three triples, including the last one with 38 seconds left to eclipse the 50-point barrier.

He finished with 51 points on 15-of-23 shooting, going seven-of-12 from long range and a perfect 14-of-14 from the free throw line, becoming the Celtics' all-time leader in regular season 50-point games with his fifth. 

He also has two 50-point games in the playoffs, giving him seven overall – the sixth-most ever before turning 25 years old, trailing only Hall-of-Famers Wilt Chamberlain (15), Michael Jordan (10), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rick Barry and LeBron James (eight).

Speaking after the win, Tatum told reporters a conversation earlier in the season with Crawford was the reason he would not settle in the 40s.

"Jamal texted me after [an earlier] game and he's like, 'If you’re ever that close to 50, nobody is going to remember the time and score, they're just going to report if you got 50 or not'," Tatum said. 

"That’s what was going through my mind: Jamal telling me if you get that close to 50, go get it."

Head coach Joe Mazzulla made it clear Tatum's desire to dominate is the furthest thing from selfishness, and he is delivering within the confines of the Celtics' offensive structure.

"He makes me look like a better coach," he said. "He didn't settle for shots – he got catch-and-shoots, he got off-the-dribbles, he got layups. 

"The other piece of that is the humility of our team to really work with him to get those 51 points."

Celtics guard Derrick White added: "He wants to be great and he takes that challenge each and every night. He’s seen a lot of defense during his time in the league and he is making the right read off of that."

Tatum's ability to make plays for his team-mates has been evident, averaging 5.3 assists during his eight games since the new year began, having never previously averaged more than 4.4 assists in any of his six seasons so far.

Related items

  • 'The best player on Earth can't get a call' – Lakers fume after game-defining missed foul 'The best player on Earth can't get a call' – Lakers fume after game-defining missed foul

    The Los Angeles Lakers are furious after an obvious foul on LeBron James' potential game-winner was missed, with the Boston Celtics going on to secure a 125-121 victory in overtime.

    Playing in Boston, James was spectacular with a game-high 41 points on 15-of-30 shooting, adding nine rebounds and eight assists, but the game was tied at 105-105 after Jaylen Brown's and-one with four seconds remaining.

    The four-time MVP and four-time NBA Finals MVP would be the player entrusted with the last shot for the Lakers, and after driving left and getting all the way to the rim, James was smacked on his shooting arm by Jayson Tatum with under one second on the clock.

    But the foul went un-whistled, with James, All-NBA team-mate Anthony Davis and the entire Lakers bench erupting in fury as the game was sent to overtime.

    Los Angeles guard Patrick Beverley was issued a technical foul after bringing over a camera to the referee in an effort to show crew chief Eric Lewis the clearly botched call, and the Celtics went on to score 20 in the extra period, led by Brown with 11 of his 37 total points.

    Speaking after the loss, Davis made it clear he felt cheated by the referees.

    "It was bull**** at the end of the day," he said. "It’s unacceptable, and I guarantee nothing will happen to the ref. We got cheated tonight, honestly. 

    "[Beverley] got all ball on Brown, [but they] called a foul. LeBron, they smack across his arm. Unacceptable, to be honest. The refs were bad – they were bad tonight."

    James echoed those sentiments, saying this is not the first time this season he has felt disrespected by officials.

    "You saw my reaction… it’s challenging," he said. "I don’t get it. 

    "I'm attacking the paint just as much as any other guy in this league that’s shooting double-digit free throws a night. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it."

    He added: "You guys seen some of the games we lost this year, with late-game missed calls. I don’t understand what we're doing. 

    "I watch basketball every single day. I watch these games every single game, and I don’t see it happen to nobody else. It's just weird."

    Head coach Darvin Ham joined the chorus of discontent.

    "The best player on Earth can’t get a call – it’s amazing," he said. "You have to call a cat a cat, you can’t look at something and try to pretend it’s not what it is. 

    "He’s a guy that tries hard to play the right way. Doesn’t flop, plays downhill, plays a strong, physical brand of basketball. 

    "Just because he doesn’t flop or doesn’t flail and he’s not screaming when he’s shooting the ball like I see a ton of other players doing, he gets penalised for it.

    "As much as you try not to put it on officiating, it’s becoming increasingly difficult. I don't want to see another Last 2 Minute report – they can save that. It doesn't do no one any good."

    In an Instagram story, where he included a still photo of the foul, Lakers guard Dennis Schroder also voiced his frustration.

    He wrote: "The refs gotta start getting fined for their mistakes! They also giving technical fouls to people who are reacting to their mistakes.

    "The replay center should also use replay to get these calls right, especially on an important play like the OBVIOUS foul on LeBron at the end of the game.

    "This needs to stop… to lose 3-5 games this season off of referees' mistakes is really hard."

    In an uncommon occurrence, crew chief Lewis confirmed the botched call immediately after the game finished.

    "There was contact," he said. "At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play."

    The loss has the Lakers fall to 23-27, sitting 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference.

  • Celtics beat the Lakers in overtime despite 41 points from LeBron, Clippers win fifth in a row Celtics beat the Lakers in overtime despite 41 points from LeBron, Clippers win fifth in a row

    LeBron James' 41 points were not enough to prevent his Los Angeles Lakers from going down 125-121 in a controversial overtime loss on the road against the Boston Celtics.

    In the latest edition of the league's most decorated rivalry, James was a man on a mission, finishing 15-of-30 from the field, six-of-12 from deep and five-of-six from the free throw line as the only Lakers player to score more than 16.

    He added nine rebounds and eight assists, and he should have been awarded potential game-winning free throws after he was clearly hit on the arm while driving for a layup with under a second remaining in regulation.

    But the Celtics got the call in Boston, and it would be Jaylen Brown stepping up in the extra period to deliver a win for the home fans.

    Brown scored 11 of his team-high 37 points in overtime, finishing 13-of-23 from the field with nine rebounds, picking up the slack for team-mate and MVP candidate Jayson Tatum.

    Tatum had a respectable stat line of 30 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals, but he shot a dismal eight-of-25 from the field, while Sixth Man of the Year contender Malcolm Brodgon chipped in a game-changing 25 points (eight-of-15), six rebounds, four assists and two steals off the bench.

    For the Lakers, it was Anthony Davis' second game back after five-and-a-half weeks on the sideline dealing with a foot injury, and he came off the bench again for 16 points (six-of-15), 10 rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes.

    The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Celtics, and improved their league-leading record to 36-15. 

    The Lakers fell to 23-27, and although they sit 13th in the Western Conference, they are only three games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves in the sixth seed.

    Clippers extend winning streak to five

    The Los Angeles Clippers are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season after making it five in a row with Saturday's 120-113 victory against the Atlanta Hawks.

    The Clippers were led by their resurgent two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who scored a game-high 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting while adding eight rebounds and four assists.

    There were fears Leonard's prime had been stolen from him by injuries after scoring a total of 50 points in his first five games of this campaign, but over his past 10 fixtures he sits eighth overall in points per game at 29.3.

    Over that span he is shooting 55.6 per cent from the field, 47.2 per cent from deep and 92.5 per cent from the free throw line while adding 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game, improving the Clippers' record to 28-24.

    Kyrie stays red-hot in New York showdown

    Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving posted his sixth consecutive game with at least 30 points and six assists to defeat the New York Knicks 122-115 at home.

    Irving, who was named an All-Star starter mid-week, scored a game-high 32 points on 12-of-27 shooting with nine assists, six rebounds and two steals.

    Over his past six games, his 36.3 points per game is eclipsed only by Portland Trail Blazers icon Damian Lillard (38.3), while Irving's 7.8 assists would also be a new career-high as he shoulders a massive workload in the absence of injured superstar Kevin Durant.

  • Embiid, 76ers take down the reigning MVP in statement-making performance Embiid, 76ers take down the reigning MVP in statement-making performance

    Joel Embiid made it clear he is only concerned about winning a championship after dominating in the Philadelphia 76ers' 126-119 victory against reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

    Embiid – who has finished runner-up in each of the past two MVP votes – was spectacular on Saturday, finishing with a game-high 47 points on 18-of-31 shooting, a game-high 18 rebounds and equal game-highs with three steals and two blocks.

    He outplayed Jokic, who still posted a terrific stat line of 24 points (eight-of-12 shooting), nine assists and eight rebounds, but his seven turnovers were the third-most he has had in a game this season,

    It continued a remarkable campaign for Embiid, improving his league-leading scoring average to a career-high 33.8 per game, while also shooting a career-best 53.2 per cent from the field. He is shooting a career-best 86.1 per cent from the free throw line while leading the league at 10.0 made free throws per game.

    When asked after the win if he feels he should be the MVP, Embiid said he is no longer concerned about the award.

    "I don't know, that's up to you guys to decide," he said. "Like I told you, I'm done arguing for myself. It's all out there.

    "But the focus is on winning. As long as we win, I know everything is going to take care of itself. If we keep winning, and everyone stays healthy, I've got a better chance of going out there and winning a championship."

    Embiid also had his streak of five consecutive selections as an All-Star starter snapped this past week as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum claimed the three frontcourt spots in the East.

    He said he feels that is an indication that he is "not well-liked", but he is not bothered by it.

    "I'm used to it," he said. "It's not the first time. I think it's more of a motivation to go out and win the whole thing – that's the only way I'm probably going to get that respect.

    "I was not surprised, I think it's well documented that I'm not well-liked. That's cool. I don't know if it's because I troll a lot or that I guess I'm an a****** – but it's cool. 

    "I keep being me, I keep being an a******, and I keep trolling, and if people don't like it, that's their problem. But like I said, it all goes back to winning."

    The 28-year-old believes winning would cure everything, and that the current 76ers roster – with a healthy James Harden – has the balance required to go all the way.

    "You've got James Harden, obviously he's been playing great basketball," he said. "You've got Tyrese Maxey, Tobias has been great, P.J. Tucker... we've got a group that fits with each other.

    "We'll find that out in the postseason. But I think as far as the fit, you've got everything. Everybody fits with each other, we've got shooters, we've got defenders, and we've got James Harden. So I think we've got a good chance."

    The 76ers are now 32-16, sitting second in the Eastern Conference while owning the third-best record in the league.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.