Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons probably will win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, but Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum could make it an interesting race.
Tatum continued to shine for the C’s on Tuesday night, pouring in 19 points as Boston beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-102 for its 13th straight win.
The 19-year-old rookie was hailed as the most polished scorer in the 2017 draft class, and that was evident against the Nets. Tatum was efficient, hitting six of his nine shots, including a 2-for-3 mark from 3-point range and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. He did a great job using his length to evade defenders on drives to the basket, and his athleticism, as shown in the video below, is quite good.
Tatum entered Tuesday ranked sixth in scoring among rookies with 13.3 points per game. His 47.6 3-point percentage is second-best among first-year players, and his 82.7 free-throw percentage ranks fifth.
The most impressive part of Tatum’s game is his consistency. He doesn’t get too high or too low from a mental perspective, and he’s scored in double digits in seven of his last eight games.
The Celtics, a win-now group despite being the youngest team in the league, picked the most NBA-ready player in the draft in Tatum and could receive another top-five draft pick by trading down to get him.
That’s what you call a win-win.
Here are a few other notes from Celtics-Nets:
— The C’s have accomplished something no NBA team ever has done before.
That previous record was held by the 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks, who won 12 straight games after starting the season 0-4 and went on to win a franchise-record 67 games.
— Boston’s bench struggled to score. The unit shot just 4-for-26 and scored a season-low 13 points. Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis combined to shoot 2-for-18, including a 1-for-8 mark from 3-point range.
The bench was bailed out by the starters, all of whom hit double-digits and totaled 96 points. Kyrie Irving led the way with 25 points, followed by Marcus Morris’ season-high 21. Morris came up clutch in the fourth quarter with 11 points.
— Al Horford has played very well since returning from a concussion Sunday.
Horford (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Morris (21 points, 10 rebounds) notched double-doubles for the C’s.
— The famous Celtics-Nets trade is the gift that keeps on giving for Boston. Here’s a look at how it impacted Tuesday night’s game.
— Tatum played really well against the Nets, but this embarrassing dunk attempt likely will earn him a place on this week’s Shaqtin’ A Fool segment on TNT.
— Boston will take its 13-game win streak into Thursday night’s showdown with the defending champion Golden State Warriors at TD Garden.
The Warriors have won seven straight games, but it’s the Celtics who’ll enter the matchup with the league’s best record at 13-2.
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