The Boston Celtics can breath a sign of relief that their star player broke out on Sunday.
Upon entering the NBA bubble in Walt Disney World, the Boston Celtics knew they had no shot of clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference, since the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo held a stranglehold of the crown. However, the Celtics had a tremendous opportunity to potentially move up to the second seed, albeit with a collapse from the Toronto Raptors.
Still, Disney World didn’t feel like the “happiest place on Earth” for the 3-seeded Celtics, as they were narrowly defeated the Bucks on Friday. To make matters worse, their star player, Jayson Tatum, was ice cold throughout the pivotal conference matchup, causing impatient Boston fans to enter full-on panic mode as he finished with just five points on 2-of-18 shooting.
Tatum told those individuals to relax on Sunday, as he lit up the scoreboard in the Celtics’ game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Maybe the magic was in Jayson Tatum’s haircut?
There was one vast difference in Tatum on Sunday, and it was that he entered the NBA’s official bubble barbershop and got himself a fresh cut. Maybe there was some “Disney magic” inside those clippers? No, not the Los Angeles Clippers. The barber’s clippers!
Tatum set the tone in the first half of the Sunday contest. The All-Star forward scored 21 points, hauled in three boards and dished out two assists while shooting 58.3 percent from the field and 4-of-6 from behind the arc. He finished his night with a game-high 34 points and eight rebounds, going 11-for-22 from the floor and 5-for-8 from long range.
This was quite the bounce-back for Tatum after he severely struggled against the Eastern Conference powerhouse that is the Bucks. The former 2017 third overall pick only made two shots on a staggering 18 attempts for a grand total of five points, and he was no better from 3-point land either, going 0-for-4.
Tatum was, sadly, no better in scrimmage games prior to the restart of the 2019-20 season. In his first exhibition against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he went 1-for-6 from the field and tallied just three points, two assists, four rebounds, two steals and two turnovers. Tatum and the remainder of the starting lineup were benched following halftime. In his second (and final) scrimmage against the Phoenix Suns, Tatum scored 16 points … on 17 shot attempts.
Look, we can understand why Celtics fans would feel concerned after those three previous performances, but you have to realize that Tatum hadn’t played an official NBA game since March 10. He and the rest of the NBA’s star players all had to sit at home for months on end due to the coronavirus pandemic temporarily shutting down league operations. The adjustment period takes a bit for all players, hence why they had the scrimmage games before the restart. Do you think commissioner Adam Silver wants to see the star players put up sloppy performances from the get-go? Of course not!
If Sunday proved anything, it’s that Tatum is going to be just fine once the regular season ends and the 2020 NBA Playoffs kick off on Aug. 17.