Jayson Tatum provided the first signature, late-game moment of this young Celtics season on Friday night, nailing a step-back game-winner with 1.3 seconds left to help the C’s pull out a 104-102 win over the New York Knicks at TD Garden.
TATUM TAKES IT… MAKES IT!!! pic.twitter.com/e0xzbtRjnP
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 2, 2019
Tatum’s first career game-winning shot provided a glimpse of what Celtics fans hope is a reoccurring occasion for the third-year pro.
“It feels great but I don’t want to get too excited,” Tatum told reporters. “The guys I look up to in this league, they do things like this all the time. I’ve got somebody on my team like Kemba [Walker], he’s done this many a times. Kyrie [Irving] did it. I feels good to hit one. But now I’ve got keep working at it though.”
Walker became the first Celtics player since 2002 to have three consecutive games of 30-plus points, six-plus rebounds, and four-plus assists on Friday, but he didn’t mind Tatum taking the final shot.
“I’m happy [Tatum] got it,” Walker said. “It was the right play. Marcus made the right play. He had a smaller guy on him, and he just had great position . . . I probably would have took that a lot of times back in Charlotte, but yeah, I mean, I don’t mind. I like having other guys being able to take that shot.”
Friday’s game against the Knicks also marked the return of former Celtics forward Marcus Morris, who Tatum referred to as “a big brother to me.”
The two talked postgame, where Morris said that he and his brother Markieff are the only two players in the league who can guard Tatum, while Tatum told Morris, “I was hoping you wouldn’t switch off of me,” on the winning shot.
Despite the slight jabs, Morris provided positive words about his former teammate.
“He’s more patient, more calm, way more aggressive … the kid’s nice. I’ve been saying it since he got here,” Morris said. “He’s going be a great player in this league for a while, and I’m happy to be a part of his career so far.”
Tatum finished the game with 24 points and is now averaging 22 per game during the Celtics’ 4-1 start.
The Celtics are back in action Tuesday when they play the Cavaliers in Cleveland.