Over the past few weeks, no one in the NBA has been hotter than Jayson Tatum. The Boston Celtics‘ third-year swingman, who just a few weeks ago went to his first All-Star Game, has been on an absolute tear lately. For a very quick explanation, consider that in his first 195 career games, he scored 30 points five times; in his past 18 games, he’s scored 30 points seven times.
The man is just a walking bucket right now, and at this point it’s getting difficult to even find new ways to write about what he’s doing. Thankfully, on Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz, he made history as he stayed hot, which provides a natural jumping off point. Finishing with 33 points and 11 rebounds, Tatum led the Celtics to a 114-103 victory over the Jazz, which gave them their 11th win in 13 outings, including three out of four on their West Coast road trip.
In the process, Tatum became the first player since Shaquille O’Neal back in 1994 to score at least 30 points on 60 percent shooting in three straight games. On Sunday, Tatum against the Lakers, and followed that up with 39 points on Tuesday night against the Blazers. Then, of course, he put up the 33 on Wednesday against the Jazz.
That’s obviously an impressive feat regardless of the circumstances, but it’s even more incredible considering that Tatum did it while launching 3s. In fact, over his past three games, Tatum has taken more 3s (24) than O’Neal did in his entire career (22). Still, he was able to maintain his efficiency.
Against the Jazz, Tatum was showing off all of his scoring abilities, from driving inside to finish over Rudy Gobert, to draining step-back 3s in Bojan Bogdanovic’s face. There was nothing the Jazz could do at times, especially in the second quarter, when he poured in 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting in a 10-minute span.
If it makes the Jazz feel any better — and it probably doesn’t — no one else has been able to stop Tatum lately either. Going back even further than just the past three games, Tatum is averaging 30.5 points in February, which is fifth in the league in that span, while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point land.
The wait is over. Jayson Tatum has made the leap to stardom.