Jayson Tatum was a walking highlight Sunday night as the All-Star wing propelled the Boston Celtics to a second consecutive win.
The C’s pulled off a 111-110 victory over the Washington Wizards at TD Garden thanks partly to a 13-4 run in the final 2:39 of regulation.
Tatum led a trio of Celtics who scored 20-plus points. He finished with a team-high 31 points on 12-for-22 from the floor, none of which was bigger than his game-winning basket in the final seconds.
Kemba Walker (21 points) and Daniel Theis (20 points) also finished with 20-plus. The Celtics were without All-Star guard Jaylen Brown, too.
Washington was led by Bradley Beal, who would have been the hero of the game if not for Tatum’s final minute. Beal scored a game-high 46 points on 16-for-29 from the field. Russell Westbrook recorded a double-double of his own with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
With the verdict, Boston improves back to .500 at 17-17 while Washington falls to 13-19.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Javonte Green
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Tristan Thompson
C: Daniel Theis
The Celtics held the Wizards without a field goal for more than six minutes, helping take a 10-point lead midway through the quarter, but held a mere 33-28 lead after the first.
Washington shot 35 percent from the field after missing their first eight shots but benefitted from 17 (!!) free throw attempts. The Wizards were 15-for-17 at the charity stripe, a major reason they were able to keep it close after 12 minutes despite going without a field goal and four turnovers in six minutes.
Boston jumped out to a 7-0 lead after seven minutes and showcased their advantage in the paint early on.
Tatum scored 10 first-quarter points for the Celtics while Walker chipped in eight. The Celtics shot 44 percent from the field (11-for-26) while Boston was 8-for-9 from the free-throw line.
Beal led all scorers with 11 points.
OH MY, TATUM
The Celtics used a 10-2 run early in the quarter to take their biggest lead of the game, 48-37, after a thunderous dunk by Tatum on the head of Washington’s Robin Lopez.
Boston couldn’t keep that double-digit lead as the C’s advantage was cut to 60-55 at halftime.
Tatum was impressive in the half, scoring a team-high 16 points. And while his thunderous slam was the highlight of all highlights, his shot-making ability wasn’t far off.
Walker had 14 of his own.
Beal had 24 in the first half for the Wizards. The Celtics limited their fouls as Washington as the visitors went to the line just three times in the quarter.
Boston shot 44 percent from the field in the half while Washington shot 42 percent. The C’s benefitted from 10 offensive rebounds, too.
C’S RUN GETS ANSWERED
Washington used a 12-2 scoring run as Boston went four minutes without a point to climb back into it after the Celtics had put together a strong start to the half. Ultimately, it cut Boston’s lead to just 79-76 heading to the final frame.
The Celtics again took a 11-point lead, 68-57, just over three minutes into the quarter. It came after five straight points by Theis, and included a pair of 3-pointers — one by Theis, one by Walker.
Tatum climbed to 17 points in the game while the Celtics continued to have trouble defending Beal, who scored 32 with 12 minutes remaining.
By the end of the third, both teams had shot an identical 40.6% from the field.
WHAT AN ENDING
Washington came out firing and took a six-point lead, 87-81, after Davis Bertans fifth 3-pointer of the game.
Theis kept Boston in it, though, with eight straight points for the C’s during the early part of the quarter. He fell in love with the foul-line jumper the Wizards were giving him.
Tatum regained the Celtics lead with a 3-pointer midway through the quarter before Walker earned a steal and transition two.
Beal, however, led the Wizards on a 10-2 run to take a 101-96 lead with four minutes left. It came after Beal finished on both a four-point play and a traditional three-point play.
Semi Ojeleye hit a crucial 3-pointer to keep the Celtics’ deficit to one possession before Tatum connected on a turn-around jumper to cut Washington’s lead to 106-105 with 1:33 left.
Boston trailed 110-109 with 12 seconds left after Tatum forced a turnover on Beal. Tatum finished on a difficult drive to the rim to put the C’s up 111-110, and Boston got a great defensive possession on the final play of the game.
And then there was Rob Williams, who just continues to defy gravity.
PLAY OF THE GAME
In a night where there was so many Tatum highlights to choose from, this facial is just absurd.
The Celtics will host the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday before concluding the first half of the season against the Raptors on Thursday.