Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum dropped 53 points on Friday night and afterward admitted it was the night he would never forget. The Celtics trailed for the majority of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves but Tatum led Boston to a 145-136 win after being down by 17 earlier in the game.
"To score 50 is a big thing in this league and especially at this age," Tatum said, per ESPN. "It'll be a night I always remember, and we got the win on top of that -- a big win. "Every win right now is big."
The Celtics were down by 14 points after the first quarter so their head coach decided to start the second quarter with his starting five. "To be honest, I just didn't want it to be 30 at halftime," Stevens deadpanned afterward.
"It was not heading in the right direction, and just wanted to maintain a distance. Just kind of hang in."
Stevens praised Tatum
"When we were coming back in the third, you could see he had it," Stevens said.
"And guys did a good job finding him. "Tatum was super special tonight. ... Don't mistake his quiet demeanor for not being a competitor. He is a competitor." After forcing an overtime, the Celtics dominated the Timberwolves to escape with a win.
"Staying the course," Celtics guard Marcus Smart said, when asked how Boston was able to bounce back in overtime. "We had some plays that could really have turned for us and we couldn't win down the road and we've been going down.
We just decided and just continued to talk and I think tell one another that we gotta continue to keep going and just keep fighting through whatever adversity is in front of us." Elsewhere, New Orleans Pelicans decided to give the point guard duties to Zion Williamson on Friday night.
Williamson finished with 37 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists as the Pelicans beat the Philadelphia 76ers 101-94. "Yeah, I have that in my bag. I just, that's what [Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski] said, that I want to be a perfectionist," Williamson said.
"I want to get the closest and easiest shot. But my teammates and especially T-Spoon. She said, 'Z, just gimme one. If you don't like it, you don't have to shoot it again.' "When I shot it, it felt good.
I liked the result, to be honest. She tells me every game, but tonight, she was like, just give me one. I tried. And it worked."