Jayson Tatum’s Q2 outburst against Lakers a harbinger of progress?
The memory of most Celtic fans will anoint a certain Jaylen Brown
Q3 dunk over His Majesty as the signature moment of Boston’s impressive 32-point
thrashing of the rival Lakers Monday evening in Beantown.
But I suspect the “turning point” of more than just a single game
had occurred about an hour earlier, at the very end of Q1.
The Lakers had come out of the starting blocks with more energy
and a smoother rhythm than Brad’s guys, LA’s Twin Towers beating the Celt’s in
transition and blocking every Boston foray hoopward on their way to a quick
lead … the C’s initial conversion was a Gordon Hayward 30-footer on the heels
of a sloppy pass.
Slowly, Brown started getting to the foul line, Kemba Walker spied
out a little shooting room and Enes Kanter began out-maneuvering the sprightly
Laker frontline – the game’s only ties and lead changes (five of each) happened
during the first 12 minutes.
A Tatum “Epiphany”
About five minutes in, Coach Stevens inserted Marcus Smart for a still-tentative
Jayson Tatum, who’d missed both his FGA’s and grabbed a single D-board.
JT would replace Hayward for the quarter’s final 79 seconds and
three offensive possessions – as the shot clock was dwindling on the first possession,
Tatum drove to the goal from the left wing but dribbled through the lane,
settling for a tough, contested 14-foot fallaway and missing badly enough that
the savvy Kanter cashed in a put-back.
But Jayson seemed still in his early-game funk – he appeared to be
talking to himself and got surprised by a pass in the backcourt as the C’s were
preparing to play for the quarter’s final shot.
Photo: Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty
The quarter-closing play was run for Kanter, whose miss bounced
out to JT, again on the left wing, again short on time. Jayson penetrated to
the paint … and in his best Cedric Maxwell imitation, our budding superstar
launched a tippy-toe flip-shot just over the fingertips of Dwight Howard.
[I’d like to think that somewhere, Sam Jones was watching and
whispering – as he’d at times taunt Wilt – “Too late!”]
That little four-footer ignited a 13-point JT Q2 offensive
explosion that put his squad in firm and permanent control of the contest.
The number of “possessions” is an accurate count, not a formula-based estimated value. For purposes of clarity, the bracketed digit following the FT% is the exact count of “conversions” represented by those FTA’s.
“Possessions” calculation: FGA’s + FT conversions + TO’s – OR’s (including Team OR’s) – FT OR’s
“Conversions” calculation: FG’s + FT conversions
“Stripes” calculation: 3FG’s – missed FTA’s
TS% = True Shooting Percentage
PPP = Points per Possession
CV% = Conversion Percentage
Abacus Revelation for the Road
Boston’s 65 conversions against LAL
represents a season high, the third time they’ve posted 60+ for a ballgame.
They’ve allowed 60+ opponent
conversions only once (61 to the Wizards in a crazy mid-November Garden
shootout that featured 123 combined successes), though the Bucks converted 59
times in their victory last Thursday.