As soon as Jayson Tatum began drawing contact in Friday night time’s matchup in opposition to the Chicago Bulls, he couldn’t cease. Even after the sport was over.
After making a career-high 20 journeys to the free-throw line in a 123-119 Celtics win, Tatum took a visit to the postgame podium inside TD Backyard the place he was requested proper off the bat about his capability to search out new methods of drawing contact in opposition to opponents. Earlier than he may reply, the star wing discovered one more means, as a fabric backdrop banner unexpectedly fell on his head.
Unscathed, Tatum smiled off the weird incident – no hurt, no foul on this case – and went on to reply the query as easily as he would knock down a pair of free throws.
“The older I get, I believe the extra my physique develops, the extra I’m in a position to take contact,” he stated amid the ironic second. “Additionally, simply studying after we’re within the bonus, time, and state of affairs within the sport, I believe I’ve gotten lots higher at that over time.”
Tatum drew 10 fouls in opposition to Chicago and knocked down 17 of his 20 makes an attempt from the charity stripe. Three of these makes got here throughout the last 40 seconds, as his 36-point effort helped to carry off the Bulls regardless of DeMar DeRozan’s 46 factors and 22 journeys to the road.
“He was actually aggressive tonight, and it’s simply nice to see every time he’s in a position to get that many free throws,” Al Horford stated of Tatum, who additionally used his aggressiveness to dish out a game-high six assists. “Primary, he’s doing one thing proper; quantity two he’s being very aggressive attacking the basket. I felt like he did a very good job of when to go search the foul and when to kick the ball out. His decision-making was excellent.”
Which may be an understatement, contemplating how there was just one Tatum turnover amid all of his scoring and aiding.
Horford says that’s all a part of his persevering with growth.
“I simply see him very assured,” stated the veteran huge man. “I really feel like he is aware of himself increasingly. That is the sensation that I get. He is aware of when he’ll go rating, when he is received to cross, making reads. There’s lots occurring at instances. He has that capability to simply decide it up and make changes on the fly.”
Drawing contact persistently appears to be one of many largest changes Tatum has comprised of final season to this season. His free-throw makes an attempt per sport are up from a career-high of 6.2 to a brand new career-high of 8.6. And he’s changing these makes an attempt at a career-best 89.9 % fee.
Tatum hopes that his continued progress is one thing that evokes his teammates, as effectively.
“I’m attempting to get higher in each side,” he stated. “Simply attempting to be higher than I used to be final season and impression the sport throughout, offensively and on the defensive finish. I believe that’s contagious all through the entire group.”
Although, his capability to attract contact is perhaps turning into too contagious – to the purpose the place it’s following him off the court docket to the rostrum.