Celtics

Morning sports update: Jay Williams discussed the ‘opportunity’ for Jayson Tatum in matchup against Nets

"I think what we're seeing is Jayson Tatum finally having his team."

Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum drives to the basket past Bradley Beal during the play-in tournament matchup. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The Celtics defeated the Wizards 118-100 in the NBA play-in tournament on Tuesday, with Jayson Tatum scoring 50 points to ensure Boston a playoff berth.

As a result, the Celtics (as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference) will face the second-seeded Nets in the first round of the playoffs starting with Game 1 on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, the Red Sox lost to the Blue Jays, 8-0.

Tonight, the Bruins host the Capitals in Game 3 of the two teams’ first-round playoff series at 6:30 p.m. After Boston’s overtime win in Game 2, the series is tied 1-1.

Jayson Tatum’s “opportunity” after the play-in performance: With the Celtics’ season on the line in the play-in tournament, Tatum delivered for Boston on Tuesday night. His 50-point eruption put the Celtics into the playoffs.

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Afterward, discussion continued about where Tatum ranks in the tough to define category of “superstar.”

While Tatum himself shrugged off the conversation, ESPN basketball analyst Jay Williams thinks the 23-year-old isn’t quite there yet.

“He’s right in between a star and a superstar,” said Williams during a segment on Wednesday morning. “He’s a budding superstar. He will be the MVP of the league one day. I think what we’re seeing is Jayson Tatum finally having his team.”

Williams’s comments echo what Wizards coach Scott Brooks had to say, predicting that the Celtics’ scorer will one day be a league MVP. But what impressed Williams was Tatum’s performance in the 2021 season amid difficult circumstances.

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“That’s one of hell of a year to have his team,” Williams noted. “He had COVID this year, injuries to Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker, Tristan Thompson, Robert Williams. The laundry list goes on.”

“But I think this is his team,” Williams added. “I think this is a growing opportunity for him, especially going into that first-round series against the Nets.”

The matchup against Brooklyn means facing former Celtic Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Nets’ star power.

Williams, asked if Boston has a chance to win, simply replied, “No.” Still, he thinks it could be competitive.

“Do I think the Celtics can win a couple of games? Yes I do,” Williams added.

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Trivia: Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving were both selected in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft. What former Celtics was picked last in that draft?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He played for the Pelicans in 2021.

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On this day: In 2008, Jon Lester threw a no-hitter in a 7-0 Red Sox win over the Royals.

Daily highlight: Manchester United forward Edinson Cavani scored with a deft touch near midfield on Tuesday in a 1-1 draw against Fulham.

Trivia answer: Isaiah Thomas

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