BOSTON (CBS) — It was just a few days ago that some pundits were calling out Jayson Tatum, saying the young star wasn’t living up to the hype as the Celtics’ team leader. Tatum responded with a monster week, earning him an NBA honor in the process.
Tatum was named the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week on Monday, the second time that he has earned the award this season.
The 23-year-old led all Eastern Conference players with 31.5 points per game between April 5-11, shooting 48.8 percent from the floor and 38.9 percent from three-point range. Tatum also averaged 8.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists over Boston’s four games.
The Celtics went 3-1 last week, dropping Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers before rattling off three straight wins over the New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets. Tatum scored at least 25 points and pulled down at least 10 rebounds in each of those three wins, marking the longest such streak by a Celtics player since Paul Pierce in 2003.
His best game of the stretch came Friday night when Tatum dropped a career-best 53 points in Boston’s overtime win over the Timberwolves, making him the youngest player in franchise history to hit the 50-point mark in a single game.
Here’s a snapshot of Tatum’s week:
Tuesday’s loss to 76ers: 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists Wednesday’s win over Knicks: 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists Friday’s win over Timberwolves: Career-high 53 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists Sunday’s win over Nuggets: 28 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists
Tatum scored 14 of his 28 points on Sunday in the fourth quarter of Boston’s comeback win in Denver. His 19.5-point scoring average in the second half ranked first in the Eastern Conference during last week’s slate.
This is the third time in Tatum’s NBA career that he has received Player of the Week honors. In 48 games this season, Tatum is averaging career highs in points (25.7), rebounds (7.1), and assists (4.2) while shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 38 percent from downtown.