Jayson Tatum’s Q2 outburst against Lakers a harbinger of progress?

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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 Images
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.

Game 42 vs LA Lakers

Boston 139

FG:  C’s – 52-93, .559
3FG:  C’s – 16-34, .471
FT:  C’s – 19-29, .655 [13 conversions]
TS%: C’s – .657
OR:  C’s – 14 + 4 (team) [minus 0 FT rebounds]
DR:  C’s – 34 + 2 (team) [minus 2 FT rebounds]
TO:  C’s – 12 + 0 (team)
Poss:  C’s – 100 {35 “Empty”}
PPP:  C’s – 1.390
CV%:  C’s – 65 / 100, .650
Stripes:  C’s – 6 [3 conversions]
Adjusted CV%: C’s – 68 / 100, .680 {expected production, 136 points}

LA Lakers 107

FG:  LAL – 39-89, .438
3FG:  LAL – 7-26, .269
FT:  LAL – 22-29, .759 [12 conversions]
TS%: LAL – .526
OR:  LAL – 12 + 3 (team) [minus 0 FT rebounds]
DR:  LAL – 36 + 3 (team) [minus 5 FT rebounds]
TO:  LAL – 15 + 0 (team)
Poss:  LAL – 101 {50 “Empty”}
PPP:  LAL – 1.059
CV%:  LAL – 51 / 101, .505
Stripes:  LAL – 0 [0 conversions]
Adjusted CV%: LAL – 51 / 101, .505 {expected production, 102 points}

Note re Calculation & Notation:

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.