Jayson Tatum put together the best game of his young Boston Celtics career on Friday night in a 145-136 overtime win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The 23-year-old led a 17-point comeback to force overtime, finishing with a career-high 53 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. After the game, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens couldn't help but praise the star forward.
"When we were coming back in the third, you could see he had it," Stevens said, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "And guys did a good job finding him. Tatum was super special tonight. ... Don't mistake his quiet demeanor for not being a competitor. He is a competitor."
Tatum became the youngest Celtics player to score 50 points in a game, surpassing Larry Bird, who accomplished the feat at 26.
The Duke product has been one of Boston's best players since breaking onto the scene in 2017. He has improved every season since his rookie campaign and is averaging a career-high 25.7 points, seven rebounds and 4.3 assists per game this season while shooting 45.7% from the field and 38.2% from deep.
Boston has certainly had its struggles this season, being one of the least consistent teams in the NBA. However, the Celtics have won four of their last five games and appear to be headed in the right direction.
The Celtics will need Tatum to continue putting up solid numbers if they want to climb in the standings. Boston is currently seventh in a tight Eastern Conference with a 27-26 record and has the potential to capture a top-five spot before the end of the regular season.