Celtics Notes: Brad Stevens Lauds Jayson Tatum’s Big Night Despite Loss

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November 21, 2019

Jayson Tatum had himself a game Wednesday night.

After a gritty, hard-fought first half, the Boston Celtics forward absolutely broke Paul George’s ankles to nail a step-back 3-point shot to tie things up and force overtime against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Unfortunately for Boston, it couldn’t quite get the job done in a tough, defensive battle that resulted in a 107-104 loss at Staples Center. Tatum finished the night with a game-high 30 points, and earned high praise from his head coach after the game.

“He made shots,” Brad Stevens said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “The ball feels better when it’s going in. He made that huge three to send it to overtime. But he did a good job, he’s being guarded by (Kawhi) Leonard, George and(Patrick) Beverley almost all night and he just kept coming at them and it was great.”

Stevens also noted how Tatum’s energy really shifted Boston’s momentum in the second half.

“He did (help shift the momentum). … He stole the ball, all of a sudden it’s a five-point game, it’s anybody’s game,” Stevens said. “… That’s where his value probably cannot be overstated for this team.”

Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Celtics-Clippers game:

— Marcus Smart had a strong game on both sides of the ball.

Not only did the guard put up 15 points, he also was guarding Leonard most of the night, often hounding him, leaving the forward unable to get shots off. Leonard finished with 17 points.

There also was this awesome play.

“He gave us a chance at the end with 17 seconds to get the ball back,” Stevens said on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “Threw it off Kawhi’s leg. But it’s a high-level game. A lot of good players on the court.”

— Enes Kanter quietly had a strong first half, posting eight points with six rebounds. He led the Celtics in points through the first two quarters.

— Kemba Walker set himself up to nail the game-tying shot, but Leonard was able to get his hands on it to seal the win for Los Angeles.

“Hopped to the corner, which was a really good read,” Stevens said. “He usually cuts up the seam there. And he lost a normal person on that cut, he got enough separation to get (the shot) off against most of the league. The problem is that guy (Leonard) is not normal and he’s not most of the league. He made a great play to block it.”

— This is the fourth straight time the Celtics have lost to the Clippers.

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
Los Angeles Clippers Forward Kawhi Leonard
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