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In their highly anticipated season debut, the Boston Celtics opened their season with a 105-87 victory over the young and talented Philadelphia 76ers. Their leading player put up an impressive stat line of 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists in just 29 minutes of action. Yet, that players name is not Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward. It’s Jayson Tatum.

The 20-year-old forward out of Duke University finished third in rookie of the year voting last year and followed up his impressive season with a dominant performance from start to finish. He got off to an early start scoring nine of the teams first 11 points and never looked back.

In a night that was centered around the returns of all stars Irving and Hayward, the two received massive ovations during the announcements of the starting lineups at TD Garden. However, the two players combined to shoot just 6-26 from the field and scored a combined 14 points.

Both players will find their grooves and are too talented not to, but Tatum looked as if he was the veteran all star. After getting hot early in the game, he showed that he was not shy of any moment either as he finished off the first half by hitting a last second shot over All NBA defender Robert Covington. He is becoming more and more polished by the day.

Yet despite nearly dropping Covington and hitting the last second fade away shot, this wasn’t his best shot of the night. In the second half, Tatum was matchup one on one with Joel Embiid on the perimeter. He attempted to cross him up at first with no success until he backed up and tried again. The next time he gave it a shot, he found enough separation to bank in his 25-foot jump shot with the shot clock expiring. After making this shot he stared down Embiid and winked at him as if to say, “do you have anything to say to me?”

Whether it was Embiid, Covington or any other player on the 76ers, it simply didn’t matter. Jayson looked like the best player on the court from start to finish and if that continues, how do you beat this team? They have the defensive toughness to match any team in the league, the depth, the stardom and if Tatum plays up to the likes of Kyrie and Gordon on a consistent basis then they’ll simply have too much firepower. 
It was only the first game of the year, but Tatum certainly didn’t look like the teams third or fourth option but rather the first

Photo; NBAE/GETTY IMAGES 

Jared Talbot 10/17/2018 08:48:00 PM Edit
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