| The Enterprise
It hasn’t happened in over a month, but the Boston Celtics finally won back-to-back games.
It took a stellar showing from Jayson Tatum, who led the way for the Celtics in a 111-110 nail-biting win over the Washing Wizards at TD Garden on Sunday.
Here’s five thoughts from a Celtics group that has put two straight wins together:
Tatum with highlight dunk and clutch play
If there’s anyone that looked like they needed the All-Star break to come immediately it was Tatum. Tatum’s play suggested as such as he hit just 8 of his last 38 shots entering the matchup with the Wizards.
But Tatum found his groove versus Washington, netting a team-high 32 points on 12-of-22 shooting. He displayed a little bit of everything in his offensive arsenal, including his slick, fadeaway jumper and was more decisive with his playmaking.
Tatum’s explosiveness was certainly back as Robin Lopez found out in the second quarter. Tatum drove hard to his right and elevated over Lopez for a thunderous, highlight-reel slam. That finishing touch was nowhere to be found two days prior.
He needed that finishing ability when it came down to the end of the game as he scored on two clutch drives in the final 15 seconds. After Bradley Beal stepped out of bounds to gift the Celtics with possession with 12.4 seconds left, Boston cleared a side out for Tatum and he attacked the rim and finished in traffic for the go-ahead score with 4.7 seconds remaining.
Beal high-volume scorer
The friendship of Tatum and fellow St. Louis native Bradley Beal is well documented. The two will start alongside one another for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game, and Beal showed why he is leading the NBA in scoring.
He had another monster performance by tallying a game-high 46 points on 16-of-29 shooting as he showed a complete offensive game, draining 3-pointers and blowing by Celtics defenders with his elite quickness to get to the rim.
But Beal couldn’t hit the final shot for Washington as Semi Ojeleye smartly trapped him in the corner and Beal threw up a high-arcing shot at the buzzer that fell off the rim.
Brown sits out
Jaylen Brown sat out against the Wizards due to left knee soreness. He has been battling left knee tendinitis.
Javonte Green slid into the starting lineup — just the fourth start of his career — and produced 8 points, 2 assists and 2 rebounds in 33 minutes. While Green brought his stellar athleticism and hustle, he obviously didn’t have near the same impact of the All-Star Brown. The Celtics missed Brown as a primary scoring option, especially with in third quarter when Boston only scored 19 points and shot 7-for-21 in the frame.
Prior to the game, Stevens said he considers Brown “day-to-day” after his knee flared up following Boston’s win over the Indiana Pacers.
Daniel Theis’ game isn’t as flashy as Rob Williams, but he has his own style which allows him to be a steady contributor for the Celtics. Theis only trailed Tatum and Walker in scoring against the Wizards, amassing 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. It was just the second time this season Theis produced at least 20 points in a game.
Theis even scored eight straight points for the Celtics midway through the fourth quarter to chip away at a deficit as all four of his baskets in his personal run came off of four assists from Walker.
Theis’ outside shooting isn’t consistent enough yet, but he has showed he can he counted on to knock down mid-range jumpers out of pick-and-roll sets.
Rob Williams is keeping lob city alive on the east coast. Williams skied way up to throw down a couple of emphatic alley-oops from Kemba Walker and Payton Pritchard that rocked the rim. Williams is by far the most athletic of the Celtics big man and continues to be productive off the bench.
He tallied six points and six rebounds. Williams doesn’t just use his supreme athleticism for his dunking game as it’s allowed him to also be effective on the boards and a shot blocker that opposing players are starting to think twice of on drive to the basket.