Jayson Tatum came a long way from being inspired by LeBron James to an inspiring performance against LeBron James. On Sunday’s featured contest between Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, Tatum’s impressive performance saw him end with 41 points.
With his performance, Tatum managed to impress the “King” James himself. The duo hugged each other after the game and James heaped praises of the youngster.
“That kid is special,” James said of Tatum. “Obviously, that’s the reason he’s a first-time All-Star. He’s been special all year. Just try to make it tough on the kid, but he was special all night.”
Later, James also had an Instagram post praising Tatum. In the post, James referred to Tatum as an “absolute problem” and encouraged him to keep going.
As a result of his 41-point performance, Tatum became the first man to score over points in a Lakers vs Celtics game after nine years. Apparently, the person to do it in 2011 was Kobe Bryant.
Into his third season in the NBA, Jayson Tatum is showing shades of an exceptional player. He is proving worthy player for the Celtics who drafted him in with the third overall pick in 2017.
His performance on Sunday might not have won his team the game, but it did win many hearts. Tatum scored 36 points in the quarters on either side of half-time. The game was closing into a thrilling finish as the final quarter approached. The Lakers were successful in restricting Tatum to just four points in the fourth quarter to win the game by two points.
“He was in the All-Star Game for a reason,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of Tatum. “He has the ability to go [for] what would have been a potential 50-, 60-point night had we not just have brought extreme double-teams for the better part of the second half.”