Jayson Tatum Leads Celtics to Big Victory

Jayson Tatum was the best basketball player on the planet Tuesday night, as he single-handedly led the Boston Celtics to a 118-100 win to secure their spot as the 7th seed in the NBA Playoffs. Tatum scored a playoff career-high 50 points (14/32 FG, 5/12 3P, 17/17 FT) to go along with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal & 2 blocks. Tatum really started cooking with gas in the 3rd quarter as the Celtics built up a 17-2 run in the first few minutes, and ended up with 32 points in the 2nd half alone. 

Washington came out listless in the 1st quarter, which mirrored their leader Russell Westbrook's odd indifference throughout the game. After scoring only 21 points in the 1st quarter, they looked to come to life in the 2nd quarter, scoring 33 points - only to have Tatum take over the game in the 2nd half which ultimately led to their demise. What was up with Westbrook? He put up 20 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks (all great numbers) but never looked to be into the game. His energy level was lower than usual. This, combined with Bradley Beal struggling to get on track, ultimately doomed Washington. 

Kemba Walker also had a nice game for the Celtics, even if it wasn't his most efficient (shooting 10/24 FG). He looked aggressive all evening and was able to get into the paint to wreak havoc, as well as drop the outside shot, going 6/14 3P. Walker also chipped in with 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block, and combined with Tatum to score 79 of Boston's 118 points. 

Hopefully for the Celtics, the time off they earned by winning the game will allow Marcus Smart to heal his ankle, as he left with 3:34 to go in the 2nd quarter after turning his ankle. With Boston already down Jaylen Brown, they cannot afford to be without Smart in their pending battle with the Brooklyn Nets. 

Luckily for the Wizards, they get a do-over versus the Indiana Pacers, who crushed the Hornets on Tuesday. They'll need Ish Smith to come and play again, as he was a spark plug off the bench scoring 17 points in 26 minutes. They'll also need to get more out of Davis Bertans, who has struggled all year, shooting a career-low 40.4% FG. No matter how well the role players, if Westbrook and Beal struggle again, the Wizards will be off for the rest of the summer. If the dynamic duo show up to play, then the Wizards will give the Pacers all they can handle. 

Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports