Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum didn’t help his MVP case in Saturday night’s 116-102 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

But it was a performance Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla believe was still worth raving about.

Tatum only took 15 shots and finished with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists in a game-high 43 minutes, but the five-time All-Star, who has heard his name in the MVP conversation more as of late, did all the little things to push the Celtics to their eighth straight win.

“I thought today was a beautiful display of basketball from Jayson, and I think it will go underlooked and will not go into the most valuable category,” Mazzulla told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage. “But his ability to control the game with his pick-and-roll pace, his pick-and-roll passing, his defense. He put himself on (Jalen) Brunson. And the poise, welcoming the two-on-ones and creating for other was great.

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“My hat’s off to him for knowing that that’s a way for us to win.”

Tatum’s standout showing came against a difficult Tom Thibodeau defense that can usually flummox the best players in the league. But instead of trying to force any issue, Tatum smartly handled double teams as the Celtics shot 56.8% from the field — their second-best shooting night of the season.

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“I think Jayson did a really good job of being poised,” Al Horford told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage. “They really threw a lot at him. They doubled, different things trying to throw him off, and I feel like he made the right play every time.”

Tatum’s heady play was rewarded with Mazzulla sticking with him to begin the fourth quarter, which is usually a point in the game the 6-foot-8 forward heads to the bench for some rest before getting back in for the stretch run.

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“It was mostly the way that they were guarding him and the way that he was playing,” Mazzulla said. “I wanted to stay in that space for as long as possible, if they were going to keep continuing to create two-on-ones quickly. And he put himself on Brunson. He had great defensive awareness and a mindset. And so I felt like that was kind of what the game needed was to stay in that space. And I thought he did a great job of navigating that.”

Featured image via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images