Why Jayson Tatum said the Celtics’ win over the Warriors was ‘one of the most rewarding’

The Celtics prevailed in overtime, securing a hard-fought home win in a rematch of last year's NBA Finals.

The Celtics’ frustration was visible just before halftime when Stephen Curry pulled up from the Boston “T” in the Celtics’ halfcourt logo and swished a 46-foot heave through the bottom of the net.

Marcus Smart hung his head. Jayson Tatum kept running to the baseline after the ball got poked out of his hands. Al Horford never broke stride as he glanced back at the shot and walked away.

Thursday was one of those nights where the shots just weren’t falling consistently for anyone but the Celtics’ post players. For most of the game, it looked like Curry and Klay Thompson were poised to walk off the parquet floor at TD Garden with yet another win.


But eventually, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown stepped up and stole the show, carrying Boston to a gritty win, despite a team field-goal percentage of less than 40 percent.

“This was a great win in terms of figuring it out,” Tatum said. “Nobody besides Al shot great. Besides that it was just toughness plays, moving on to the next, doing whatever it takes to win and those are the most rewarding wins you can have”

Tatum scored 34 points and had 19 rebounds, joining Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Dave Cowens, and Robert Parish as the only players in Celtics history ever to do so.

It wasn’t pretty, considering his seven turnovers and 9-for-27 shooting. But he made timely shots down the stretch that helped keep the Celtics within striking distance. He also went a perfect 12-for-12 from the free-throw line.

Speaking of big shots, Brown sent the game to overtime on a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer with 18.1 seconds remaining.

It was the only made three of the night for Brown, who scored 16 points, but it was a clutch one that helped the Celtics claw back from a double-digit second-half deficit.

“It felt like a playoff game,” Brown said. “I don’t know about you guys, but their intensity, their force, the way they came, I’m sure that’s a game that they wanted to win. We were down what, five to seven in the fourth quarter with four or five minutes left? To be able to have poise and battle back, that shows a lot of growth and that we’ve been taking steps in the right direction.”


Horford, who added a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double, was tremendous on both ends of the floor. He bullied Andrew Wiggins in the post for easy buckets in the first half and chased down a sprinting Jordan Poole for a highlight-reel block.

He had an increased number of touches in the post early on, which provided some important momentum to start the game.

“It really wasn’t part of the game plan,” Horford said. “It was one of those times where Jayson was like, ‘hey, get in the post’. He felt like I had matchups so they threw it to me and I made aggressive moves.”

The Celtics were “tense” and “out of character” when they played the Warriors back in December, Tatum said.

On Thursday night, the Celtics looked more relaxed and composed, which led to a big win over a team that despite its road struggles has remained a thorn in the Celtics’ side for a while.

“We kind of talked about it today,” Tatum said. “The fact of the matter is we lost the championship. No one win can bring that back. We can’t go back in time and change that. We didn’t look at this as a rematch of the Finals. It was just one game against a great team with great players and obviously a great coach.


“It was just one game whether we won or lost tonight, we didn’t celebrate or hang a banner or anything, we still have a game on Saturday.”


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