Celtics Notes: Jayson Tatum Dazzles With Career Performance Vs. Lakers

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Have yourself a game, Jayson Tatum.

The Boston Celtics may not have defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, but Tatum put on a show at Staples Center. The 21-year-old matched his previous career-high of 41 points for the second time this season (and in his career) as he shot 60 percent from the field in 36 minutes Sunday afternoon.

It marked the 10th 30-plus point game of Tatum’s career, per Celtics Stats, nine of which occurred in this season. Tatum has scored double figures in 43 straight games, per Celtics Stats, nearly double his previous record of 22. He also attempted a career-high 15 free throws and made 13 of them.

Head coach Brad Stevens found a simple way to explain Tatum’s talent after the game.

“That’s just what he does,” Stevens said, via The Athletic’s Jay King.

Jaylen Brown also had some high praise for his teammate.

“Tatum has reached a new height, man — superstar level,” he said, via NBC Sports Boston. “We’ve got to find a way to improve and go with him. The way he’s playing is unreal. We’ve got to continue to find ways to allow him to reach his potential. … He’s been playing unreal, man. It was a joy to watch him tonight. I wish we got the win. But to come in here and do what he did to the Lakers, not too many people can say that they did that.”

Even Lakers star LeBron James was impressed with what he saw from Tatum in the contest.

“He was killing it in the ISO game tonight, get to the step-back 3s, getting into the lane, making all his free throws and (the Lakers) just tried to change up a couple of different coverages (on him)…” James told ESPN after the game.

As for Tatum? He just wished the C’s had won.

“That’s all that really matters,” Tatum said. “I know what I’m capable of, and my teammates know that, and we know what each and every guy can do in here. But we just want to win, at the end of the day.”

Here are some more notes from Sunday’s Celtics-Lakers game:

— Tatum wasn’t the only Boston player to find success.

Five different Celtics — Tatum (41), Brown (20), Daniel Theis (16), Marcus Smart (14) and Gordon Hayward (10) — scored double figures Sunday. Hayward (nine assists) and Theis (nine boards) fell just shy of recording double-doubles.

— Smart accomplished an interesting feat Sunday afternoon.

The 25-year-old now has attempted more 3-pointers than Celtics legend Larry Bird, who attempted 1,727 in 897 career games, per Boston Sports Info. Smart did so in just 389, but has sunk 100 fewer shots from beyond the arc than Bird.

— The Celtics’ regular-season series against the Lakers is over, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t square off again this season.

The two squads split the season series with one win apiece, with the Lakers eking out a two-point victory over the Celtics in the second of two. A tight loss like this, however, is enough to keep the Celtics motivated moving forward.

“It makes you thirsty for the postseason,” Brown said, via Himmelsbach.

— The Celtics take their talents to Portland next, where they’ll face the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night in the third game during their four-game road trip. Tip-off from Moda Center is slated for 10 p.m. ET.

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