Jayson Tatum’s massive evening helps Celtics beat Timberwolves in OT: 8 takeaways


The Celtics rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit and claimed a pleasant win.

Celtics Timberwolves
Boston Celtics ahead Jayson Tatum (0) factors to the sky earlier than beginning the sport in opposition to the Timberwolves at TD Backyard on Wednesday evening. Erin Clark/Globe Workers

The Celtics rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat a tricky Timberwolves group 127-120 on Wednesday.

Listed below are the takeaways.

1. If the Celtics and Timberwolves meet within the Finals (which isn’t out of the query), that recreation was not an ideal illustration. Kristaps Porzingis was out, which damage the Celtics’ spacing. Rudy Gobert was out, which damage the Timberwolves’ rim safety. The Celtics are in the course of a grueling stretch of video games. The Timberwolves had been on the second evening of a grueling back-to-back.

That stated, the Celtics gained a giant recreation in opposition to a contender. Not solely that, they beat a group in time beyond regulation (the place they had been 1-3 beforehand), and so they gathered themselves in a giant gut-check second down seven with 2:46 remaining, made a number of essential defensive stops down the stretch and rode an enormous efficiency from their famous person to a victory. There have been a whole lot of distinctly encouraging moments in an undeniably imperfect win.

“I assumed there have been distinct moments of brilliance once we simply obtained to our spacing, attacked the appropriate matchup, and made the appropriate play for the group, and I knew if we may simply get again to that, simply handle our spacing, handle the matchup, make the play, we didn’t must attempt to win the sport on one possession,” Joe Mazzulla stated. “So I assumed our guys did an amazing job simply regaining a poise, regaining simply our spacing and actually execute, and I assumed we had some big-time rebounds, big-time stops down the stretch.”

2. By the point Jayson Tatum went to the free-throw line with 36 seconds remaining, the group was in a frenzy chanting “M-V-P.”

Tatum had performed loads to stir them up. After sitting the primary 4 minutes of the fourth quarter, he re-entered the competition and scored 14 factors earlier than the top of regulation and added 12 extra in time beyond regulation — 26 factors in 13 essential minutes that flipped the sport within the Celtics favor. After his final 3-pointer splashed by means of, giving the Celtics a five-point lead with lower than a minute remaining in time beyond regulation, Tatum delivered maybe his meanest mug but and an enthusiastic kiss of dying for the Timberwolves.

After overlaying Tatum for therefore lengthy, you begin to overuse some superlatives for his ceiling, however a few of issues he did on Wednesday had been a great reminder. One instance: The way in which he put his shoulder into Jaden McDaniels and easily drove among the best wing defenders within the NBA backward for a layup with the Celtics trailing 109-102. One other instance: The following possession, when he lulled Karl-Anthony Cities to sleep along with his dribble, then buried a triple in opposition to the Wolves massive man. One other instance: His second basket of time beyond regulation, when he absorbed what in all probability ought to have been a foul from Cities, crossed him twice and drove for a layup.

“Solely factor outdoors my consolation zone is likely to be taking a cost,” Tatum stated. “Apart from that, all the pieces else I really feel snug doing.”

3. The Celtics very almost weren’t able to win in time beyond regulation even with Tatum’s heroics: On the line for the aforementioned “M-V-P” chants, he went 1-for-2, lacking the second. Derrick White, nevertheless, swooped in to seize the board, and ultimately the ball discovered its manner across the 3-point line to an open Jrue Vacation within the nook. Vacation buried the triple to place the Celtics up two, and whereas Anthony Edwards made two free throws to tie the sport, the Celtics nonetheless had an opportunity to win it within the closing seconds (Tatum’s jumper on the buzer rimmed out).

Vacation completed simply 2-for-10 from behind the arc, however he picked a giant second to pitch in one in all them.

4. The “your-turn-my-turn” tendencies of Jaylen Brown and Tatum was a detrimental, however it may need changed into a constructive at this level of their careers. Earlier than Tatum scored 26 within the fourth and time beyond regulation, Brown dropped 15 factors within the first quarter and 10 within the third on all kinds of area objectives, ending a hyper-efficient 9-for-16 for 35 factors because of a 13-for-13 efficiency on the free-throw line.

Defensively, Brown clamped Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards (5 factors, 1-for-7 taking pictures, three turnovers) within the fourth quarter and time beyond regulation.

“I really feel like I could be one of many higher defenders on the planet, and I simply need to preserve enhancing,” Brown stated. “I’ve improved off ball, my on-ball protection has improved. Begin making some extra performs on the rim, and so on., contesting some photographs, however that’s one thing that going ahead I believe that with Sensible being gone, and so on., Rob being gone, I needed to ensure to begin the 12 months that our protection didn’t wane. So I’ve tried to guide by instance all season.”

5. The Celtics may use a giant recreation from Derrick White on Thursday, and he’s due for one — he’s 7-for-27 total and 3-for-13 from 3-point vary in his final two video games. An enormous contest in opposition to the Bucks on TNT would double as an essential contribution in opposition to a rival and a few good publicity for All-Star voters.

6. The Celtics are actually a franchise-record 18-0 at house. Mazzulla partly credit the TD Backyard followers for the success.

“We wish to create this identification of enjoying Celtic basketball as a result of the followers are actually sensible, and so they know once we suck and so they know once we don’t, and so they’ve seen nice basketball for an extended time period,” Mazzulla stated. “So normally in the event that they’re cheering, it’s since you’re doing one thing proper, and I believe over the course of this season, they’ve seen moments of greatness, they’ve seen moments of Celtic basketball and so they’ve responded to that basically nicely and I believe that’s had a big impact on our group.”

The Celtics’ upcoming schedule at house has a couple of potential hindrances. Subsequent up, they face the Rockets in Ime Udoka’s return, which he presumably has a little bit further incentive to win. The defending-champion Nuggets pay a go to on the nineteenth.

7. Vacation will make his return to Milwaukee on Thursday the place he spent three years, gained a title and made an All-Star group.

True to type, he wasn’t significantly emotional concerning the return postgame with the media.

“We’re a great group. We’ve crushed them earlier than. I’m very assured that we now have a great likelihood of beating them once more,” Vacation stated. “So I believe to have the ability to return to Milwaukee must be enjoyable, once more, a spot the place I used to be there for 3 years and we did nice issues there.

“However I’m on to raised issues.”

8. The Celtics and Bucks tip off at 7:30 p.m. The showdown would be the second recreation of a back-to-back, the second recreation of a three-games-in-four-nights stretch, and the fourth recreation in a five-games-in-seven-nights stretch.

The Bucks are reeling a bit, however Thursday’s recreation could be a problem regardless of the opponent, given the circumstances.

“I learn someplace that they stated we obtained like the simplest schedule remaining,” Tatum stated. “I don’t know when that s— goes to begin, however it’s not proper now.”