The anatomy of a comeback: 15 Takeaways from Celtics-Spurs

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1. Full disclosure, I’ve watched the Celtics epic comeback towards the Spurs twice now, and I’m nonetheless struggling to place into phrases what occurred. I’ve been watching the Celtics for the reason that early-Nineteen Eighties. I’ve understood the sport pretty effectively for over 30 years now. I’ve by no means seen something like what occurred on Friday night time.

Boston was down by as many as 32 factors at just a few totally different occasions within the first half. On the break, San Antonio was up 77-48. Nobody would blame even essentially the most ardent of Celtics followers in the event that they turned the sport off and did one thing else at that time.

Within the first quarter, the Celtics scored simply 16 factors. 14 of these factors got here from Jayson Tatum on 6-of-9 taking pictures. The opposite 10 Boston gamers mixed to attain two factors on 1-of-13 from the sector. The Celtics additionally turned it over 5 occasions.

It was dangerous to begin and nothing over the subsequent 12 minutes of play did a lot to alter it. Tatum was scoring, and scoring loads. He had 10 extra factors within the second quarter. However on the half, the field rating was mainly:

Spurs – 77 factors on 71.4% taking pictures with 4 turnovers

Tatum – 24 factors on 52.9% taking pictures with zero turnovers

All different Celtics – 24 factors on 24.1% taking pictures with eight turnovers

2. The second half was a unique story for everybody however Tatum. He stayed nice, however received lots of assist from his pals. Brad Stevens is fond of claiming “We don’t want homeruns, simply hit singles” and that’s precisely what the Celtics did. Little by little, Boston chipped away at San Antonio’s lead.

As dangerous because the non-Tatum Celtics have been within the first half, they have been that good after the break. Jaylen Brown scored 11 of his 17 factors within the third quarter. All 16 of Aaron Nesmith’s factors got here within the second half and extra time. Tristan Thompson grabbed scored eight factors and grabbed six rebounds, to associate with some nice protection. Marcus Good dropped eight of his 12 dimes after the break. Evan Fournier appeared to interrupt out of his hunch by making all three of his pictures for eight factors within the third quarter.

Merely put, Jayson Tatum was the ringleader, however he was joined by a number of others starring of their roles on this circus of a recreation. Within the second half and OT, Boston outscored San Antonio 95-63. And it took each Celtic to get there.

NOTE: Usually, we group the Takeaways by themes. They may be gamers, or a particular factor that occurred within the recreation. Over the subsequent a number of takeaways, we’re getting in chronological order of performs Boston made all through the fourth quarter and OT. Name it “The Anatomy of a Comeback”.

3. The Celtics opened the fourth quarter with a set play to get Aaron Nesmith a 3. That is actually well-executed and Nesmith confidently buries the shot:

4. Jakob Poeltl performed a pleasant recreation and might do some issues. Guarding Jayson Tatum within the mid-post space off the dribble will not be one of many issues Poeltl can do:

5. If you wish to make a miracle comeback, it’s good to make some unusual performs. How a few four-point play from Tatum?

6. Keep in mind that set play for Nesmith to open the fourth? Right here it’s once more. DeMar DeRozan does a pleasant job of contesting this time. Nesmith doesn’t rush a jumper, however he additionally doesn’t simply maintain the ball or hot-potato it off to a teammate. As an alternative, it’s a fast drive to the ring for the layup:

7. To drag off a rally, you want slightly luck too. At this level within the recreation, Jayson Tatum has 37 factors. How do you lose him of all individuals?

8. If it looks like we’re alternating Tatum and Nesmith highlights, it’s as a result of they have been each that good. It is a terrific stop-on-a-dime right into a backdoor lower by Nesmith. Good move by Tristan Thompson too for the on-time jumper:

9. Tatum wasn’t going to be denied at this level. That is fairly good protection by the Spurs. They’re proper on his taking pictures hand. Doesn’t matter:

10. “Luck is when preparation meets alternative” is an apt quote to explain Nesmith as soon as once more tying the sport late within the fourth:

11. After Tatum left a jumper juuuuust brief on the buzzer it was off to extra time. The query was: Would the Celtics have the legs to finish the comeback? Nesmith had legs left:

12. This was a grown man’s end from Tatum. He goes by the defender and shrugs off the contact from the shot-blocker for the layup:

13. Jaylen Brown was 4-of-23 from the ground and 3-of-11 from behind the arc when he took this shot. He by no means hesitated when this ball got here his manner. Postgame, Brown stated “I knew I couldn’t miss perpetually.” In a recreation of massive performs, Brown made one of many greatest:

14. How about another large play from the rookie on a profession night time? Aaron Nesmith completed with 16 factors, six rebounds and one enormous steal:

15. Let’s shut this very particular model of the Takeaways with the man who closed the sport: Jayson Tatum.

Generally you’re lucky sufficient to witness historical past. That’s what occurred on Friday night time. Certain, different Celtics stepped up as we known as out, however Jayson Tatum willed Boston to this most-absurd victory in a really absurd season.

Tatum performed everything of the fourth quarter and extra time. That’s 17 minutes. In these 17 minutes, Tatum had 31 factors on 9-of-15 from the sector and 10-of-11 from the free throw line.

31 factors in lower than 1 / 4 and a half. 21 within the fourth and 10 extra in extra time.

For the sport Tatum’s stats learn:

20-of-37 area targets

5-of-7 three-pointers

15-of-17 free throws

8 rebounds

5 assists

1 block

0 turnovers (!)

60 factors

Jayson Tatum shot chart vs San Antonio Spurs
NBA Stats

It was the third 60-point recreation with no turnovers in NBA historical past. It was the primary time a participant in NBA historical past has scored 60 factors with 5 assists and 0 turnovers.

We are able to do superlatives all day lengthy about Jayson Tatum. However all you really want to know is that he now shares Boston’s single-game scoring file with Larry Hen. When it’s you and Larry Hen atop an inventory collectively, you’ve achieved one thing particular.

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