Jayson Tatum on Tuesday night was battling for more than just a spot in the 2021 NBA playoffs.
The Celtics star also was fighting for bragging rights over one of his longtime friends.
Tatum and Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal, both St. Louis natives, go way back. So had Boston fallen to Washington in the play-in tournament game at TD Garden, Tatum knew he never was going to hear the end of it.
“I didn’t want to lose to Brad. I’m not gonna hear that for the rest of my career,” Tatum said after the Celtics’ 118-100 win, per ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.
Tatum had one of his better games on the campaign to ensure Beal wouldn’t earn the last laugh. The two-time All-Star logged a game-high 50 points to help Boston secure the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed and a first-round date with the Brooklyn Nets.