Celtics look to Tatum to lead them to the postseason


Tatum's time is now

Jayson Tatum

As the season winds down to its last full week, the Boston Celtics need every win they can get to make the playoffs. And for that, they’ll need a leader to step forward. Someone like Jayson Tatum.

Indeed, in their 23-year-old small forward, the Celts have a budding superstar who has the ability to take over games and carry the team on his back. And in the season’s second half, he’s given ample evidence of his leadership.

Take, for instance, his performance in Milwaukee against the Bucks on March 26, when he went off for 34 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the Celts’ 122-114 statement win over the East’s No. 3 team. Or the next night in Oklahoma City, when he scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half as the Celtics rallied for a 111-94 victory.

And then there was his masterpiece, at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves on April 9. That was when Tatum rang up a season-high 53 points on 16-of-25 shooting and added 10 rebounds and four assists as Boston came back from a 17-point deficit to take a 145-136 victory in overtime.

For the season, Tatum’s numbers are impressive: 25.1 points per game, seven rebounds and 4.3 assists (through mid-April). If the Celtics are to hope to advance in the postseason, they’ll need more such performances from their two-time All-Star.

Tatum and the Celtics can be seen in action Sunday, May 9, when they host the Miami Heat in a clash of East playoff hopefuls on ESPN.

Player Profile

Jayson Tatum

Full name: Jayson Christopher Tatum

Birth date: March 3, 1998

Birthplace: St. Louis

Height/weight: 6 feet, 8 inches/210 pounds

Teams: Boston Celtics (2017-present)

College: Duke

Draft: Taken in the first round (third overall) by the Celtics in 2017

Position: Small forward

No.: 0

Honors and achievements: NBA All Star (2020, 2021); All-NBA Third Team (2020); NBA All-Rookie First Team (2018); McDonald’s All-American (2016); Gatorade National Player of the Year (2016)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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