The Celtics fended off a rested Utah Jazz effort on Friday, with Jayson Tatum leading the way with 39 points despite Boston flying home that morning.
“I mean, honestly, we were supposed to fly home last night, and we couldn’t, so we ended up flying home today,” Tatum said via team-provided video. “I just wanted to rock out with the team. We’re all in this together.”
Tatum put up 40 points and eight rebounds in the Celtics’ dominant win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday before returning home to Boston for the matchup with the Jazz.
“Last night is behind us. That (win) didn’t matter anymore,” he said. “This one is the important one. We owed these guys. They beat us in Utah, so we just wanted to come out here and respond, and we did.”
Despite leading all scorers in the game, Tatum credited his teammates, Malcolm Brogdon, Grant Williams, Derrick White and Blake Griffin for the victory.
“That group that ended the third quarter is really the reason we won this game,” he said. “That second unit really gave us a lot of energy, and we just closed it out in the fourth.”
Tatum said this was the first time he ever flew on a game day, as it was for many of his teammates as well, but the message was simple — go out and find a way to win.
“We kind of looked at it as a challenge,” the Celtics forward said postgame, as seen on NBCSports Boston. “I wasn’t really supposed to play today, but we talked on the plane. We’re all in this together, so I just wanted to go through it with the guys.”
Tatum said it was fun regardless of how the last 24 hours played out, and the win was rewarding. The Celtics should be able to get some rest since their next game is Tuesday when they travel to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.