Celtics

Watch Jayson Tatum throw down a poster dunk on Wendell Carter Jr.

Tatum and the Celtics opened their preseason against the Magic.

Jayson Tatum poster
Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics looks on during the first quarter of the preseason game against the Orlando Magic. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Jayson Tatum started his fifth preseason with a powerful statement on Monday, throwing down a massive poster dunk on Magic big man Wendell Carter Jr. in the third quarter.

The Celtics ran a set designed to create an isolation mismatch between Tatum and Gary Harris in the mid post. Tatum pump faked and got Harris off balance, then drove past him. Carter Jr. met Tatum at the rim, but Tatum got off the ground first and elevated high above Carter. The fifth-year big man appeared to get a hand on the ball, but Tatum powered the ball through the net, then turned and flexed at the crowd.

Much was made of Tatum’s improved physique before the season, but Tatum downplayed his offseason work on strength — instead noting that he is simply getting older.

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“Just working out and getting ready for the season,” Tatum said at media day. “I think I’m just getting older. My body is starting to fill out a little more as I mature. So, I don’t think necessarily I’ve done anything too different. I’ve had more time to work out since I got back, but I think my body is just filling out more.”

The Celtics struggled to generate efficient offense against the Magic, but Tatum had 18 points on 6-for-16 shooting late in the fourth quarter. In addition to his poster, Tatum also caught an alley-oop from Jaylen Brown later in the third on a fast break.

“I think he’s one of the best players in this game regardless of 25-and-under or over,” Brown said of Tatum earlier this offseason. “And I think he can be one of the best players when it’s all said and done. I think the same about myself.”

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