Brad Stevens Recalls Isaiah Thomas Similarities On Jayson Tatum’s Career Night

'He just wouldn't let us lose'


April 9, 2021

It had been a few years since the Boston Celtics had a player drop 50-plus points in a game, but Jayson Tatum did just that Friday night.

Tatum amassed a career-high 53 points in the Celtics’ 145-136 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at TD Garden.

The last time that happened was back in 2017 when Isaiah Thomas memorably put up 53 during Boston’s Eastern Conference semifinal overtime win over the Washington Wizards. The performance came on what would have been Thomas’ sister Chyna’s 23rd birthday.

After Friday’s game, head coach Brad Stevens shared some similarities between May 2, 2017 and April 9, 2021.

“It was a lot like what I recall about Isaiah on so many occasions, he just wouldn’t let us lose,” Stevens said on a postgame video conference. “And Tatum was like that. When we were coming back in the third, you could see he had it. Guys did a good job finding him. I thought the key to winning the overtime was actually not only the first bucket, but then the recognition to get off the ball because they were sending so many guys to him. … Tatum was super special tonight, and that’s coming off of a heavy-minute night the night before.”

Stevens also had a message for anyone doubting Tatum, as well.

“Don’t mistake his quiet demeanor for not being a competitor. He is a competitor.”

The Celtics are back in action Sunday when they take on the Denver Nuggets at 3 p.m. ET.

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