Jayson Tatum’s Mindset Shines During Celtics’ Winning Streak

'Anytime you ask me if I want to come, out I'm going to say no'


January 20

BOSTON — For all of the insane numbers Jayson Tatum can put up on a given night, there’s something that has shone through for the star during the Celtics’ recent winning streak.

The way Tatum approaches games has changed during his sixth NBA campaign. It was touched upon following his 51-point performance on Martin Luther King Jr. day, and became quite evident during the Celtics’ overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.

It’s a mindset.

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“I sense every game is important for him, the way he’s approached his craft this season,” Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla said postgame. “To say (Thursday was more important than another game) kind of diminishes his mindset and his work ethic.”

Tatum played what was simultaneously his sloppiest, but also his most complete game of the season Thursday. The 24-year-old scored 34 points, grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds and three steals in the victory, all while turning the ball over seven times and shooting just 33 percent from the field.

What stood out above all of that, however, was the fact that he played 48 of the 53-minute contest — including the last 41 consecutively.

“We’re always in communication,” Tatum said postgame, referring to he and Mazzulla figuring out rest periods throughout each game. “We talk pregame, throughout the game. It was funny, I normally play the whole second and third (quarters). So I come out and I put my warm up on, and he comes back to the huddle drawing up a play and I hear my name. So I was like, ‘Oh (expletive).’

“He asked me with like nine or eight minutes in the fourth, “You want to come out?’ And anytime you ask me if I want to come out, I’m going to say no.”

That is the mentality people refer to when talking about Tatum. Through 44 games, he is up to a career-high 37 minutes per contest.

For the Celtics, who are riding an eight-game winning streak that stretches across two weeks, there’s nothing more they can ask of a superstar player about to make his fourth-consecutive All-Star team and in the middle of an MVP campaign.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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