Wed, 18 May 2022

Celtics' Jayson Tatum looks to provide encore vs. Kings

Field Level Media
25 Jan 2022, 04:05 GMT+10

Jayson Tatum broke out of a slump in a big way with a season-high 51-point outburst in the Boston Celtics' win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

Now the blossoming All-Star forward will look to keep that rhythm going when Harrison Barnes and the Sacramento Kings visit Boston on Tuesday night.

Tatum poured in 48 of his 51 points in just three quarters of Boston's 116-87 victory and finished 18-of-28 from the field and 9-of-14 from 3-point range. Over his prior three games, Tatum had missed 17 consecutive shots from long distance.

"Obviously I know and everybody knows I haven't been shooting the ball well lately, but that never discouraged me," Tatum told NBC Sports Boston in his postgame interview. "I'm always the same person whether I miss 20 straight or whether I score 51."

Tatum also managed to pull down 10 rebounds and dish out seven assists to punctuate his monster effort on Sunday.

He became the first player in Celtics history to record three games with 50 or more points in the regular season. Tatum shares the franchise record for points in a game with Larry Bird after scoring 60 in an overtime game against San Antonio on April 30.

Sunday's win prevented Boston from a full-on skid after it dropped its prior two games. Overall, the Celtics have won six of their last nine contests.

"It's us versus everybody. Nobody really believes in us but us on this team," said Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who returned from a six-game absence following a thigh injury and time spent in the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocol.

Smart finished with 11 points, six assists and four steals. Jaylen Brown pumped in 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Grant Williams added 10 points and seven boards off the bench for the Celtics.

Sacramento is coming off a hard-fought 133-127 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday for its third straight defeat and eighth in 10 games overall.

Barnes starred for the Kings with a team-high 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting and six rebounds. The No. 7 overall pick of the 2012 draft surpassed the 10,000-point plateau for his NBA career in his 713th game.

With a floater for his 16th point of the night, Barnes became one of just 55 active players to reach 10,000 career points.

"It's crazy, obviously, with the average lifespan on an NBA player, for him to go over that 10,000 mark," Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton said. "I don't know how many guys have done that, but it can't be a lot. So, it's special."

Added Barnes, "And hopefully, you know, I can continue to do this for many years to come."

Haliburton contributed 24 points, 12 assists and six boards, Terence Davis scored 22 points and had seven rebounds and Richaun Holmes added 17 points and seven boards for Sacramento.

On Saturday, the Kings played without leading scorer De'Aaron Fox as he was a game-day scratch with an ankle injury. Fox's status for Tuesday's game against Boston remains up in the air.

It is the first of two scheduled meetings between Sacramento and Boston this season. Last season, the Kings swept the two-game regular season series.

--Field Level Media

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