The Celtics had a rough game last night after taking a loss and having to deal with a major injury to Gordon Hayward, but not everything was bad. Jayson Tatum, their 19-year-old rookie and third overall pick in last year’s draft, showed lots of promise.
Tatum is the first Celtics player since Larry Bird in 1979 to record a double-double in his NBA debut, according to NBA.com’s stats tool.
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) October 18, 2017
That’s pretty good company to keep.
Tatum started the game as the Celtics’ small-ball power forward and looked somewhat lost throughout the first half. He missed his first five shots, scored two points, and snatched five rebounds. Part of that may have been the somber news of the Hayward injury, which had to be tough for anyone to play through.
But Tatum bounced back by scoring 12 points in the second half — including eight in the third quarter — and continued to dominate the glass with another five rebounds.
Brad Stevens trusted Tatum as a starter for a reason, and he didn’t disappoint. His quick turnaround was a major reason the Celtics were able to claw their way back into the game after falling behind by double-digits.
With Hayward’s injury, the Celtics will need to lean on Tatum as they move forward. He won’t give the Celtics exactly what they’re missing from Hayward, but it’s still great to see him hitting the ground running.