Jayson Tatum isn’t going to forget his latest showdown with Stephen Curry any time soon, and Boston Celtics fans who witnessed Saturday’s heavyweight duel won’t either.
Tatum led the way as the Celtics earned their sixth straight win against the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden with a 119-114 verdict. It didn’t come easy, though, as Curry looked like, well, a superstar. Both Tatum and Curry finished with 40-plus points.
“Obviously, two big performances. I was glad that we got the win,” Tatum said on a postgame video conference. “Obviously, he’s one of the all-time greats. To earn his respect and get a win on the same night, it’s a good night.”
Curry scored a game-high 47 points while making 11 of his 17 3-point attempts. Tatum, not to be outshined, finished with 44 points on an efficient 16-for-25 from the field. He added 10 rebounds to go along in the winning effort.
The two shared a pretty telling embrace upon the game’s final buzzer. Tatum explained how the message between the two was “mutual respect.”
“My competitive side just trying to do everything in my power to help my team win the game, clearly he was doing the same,” Tatum said. “He was hitting some incredible shots that, in the moment, you got to tip your cap.”
Head coach Brad Stevens credited Tatum for getting the Celtics back in the game at the end of the second quarter. Stevens said Tatum’s mini-stretch, including a corner jumper at the buzzer, provided a lot of “juice and belief.”
“He was amazing again,” Stevens said on a postgame video conference. “We weren?t perfect early on, we looked like we were moving in mud a little, but then he went to a different level. He was unbelievable.”
Marcus Smart, who hit a crucial 3-pointer in the final minutes before finishing with 16 points, praised Tatum’s development after a career performance.
“It’s incredible. It’s a good feeling to see, it’s a good feeling to be a part of,” Smart said on a postgame video conference. “To see his development and see him continue to ascend into a great player, it’s definitely been a pleasure to be a a part of.”
The Celtics improved to 31-26 on the season Saturday and they will continue to rely heavily on Tatum as they make a run into postseason play.