Newly 22 year old Jayson Tatum is the first Boston Celtics player to be named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month (February) since Isaiah Thomas received the honor in January 2017.Over the course of the 12-game month, Tatum averaged 30.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists. February saw the first-time all-star really come into his own as a true high-caliber star in the league, following a hot January.Tatum shot 49.4% from the field and 48.1% from three-point territory.
In five of the 12 games, Tatum recorded a game-high in points scored: 32, Hawks; 33, Magic; 39, Clippers; 41 (tied career high), Lakers; 36, Trailblazers. He also had a team-high eight rebounds against Magic. When he wasn’t the game-high scorer, Tatum led the Celtics in points with 28 points against the Hawks and 32 points against the Rockets.
Fans and players alike took notice as Tatum took over games and made clutch shots when the Celtics needed them most.
A notable play to close out the month, Tatum intentionally missed the second of two free throws as time dwindled off the clock and grabbed the rebound to set up Jaylen Brown who drained a buzzer-beater three pointer to force overtime against the Houston Rockets.
The Celtics went 9-3 in the month, including statement wins over the Los Angeles Clippers (No. 3 in West), Philadelphia 76ers (No. 6 in East), OKC Thunder (No. 6 in West), Utah Jazz (No. 5 in West), and Orlando Magic (No. 7 in East). Boston also snagged a road win over the Portland Trailblazers, a 9-seed in the West just three games behind the Memphis Grizzlies.
Tatum’s recent success comes at a time where the Celtics and Toronto Raptors are battling for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. If Tatum can continue playing at level he is, and if he and the rest of the team can get healthy, the Celtics have an opportunity to make a deep playoff run.
Photo: (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)