Duke basketball in NBA: Telling stat about Celtics star Jayson Tatum

Former Duke basketball one-and-done Jayson Tatum (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Former Duke basketball one-and-done Jayson Tatum (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

Is Duke basketball alum Jayson Tatum impossible to stop two games straight?

On Friday, the shooting hand of Jayson Tatum reached sub-zero temperatures. No worries, for the Boston Celtics sensation was born in the winter. And it’s now become obvious that one freezing cold night hardly fazes the 6-foot-8, 205-pound All-Star forward, who is arguably the Duke basketball program’s best hope this decade to stamp #TheBrotherhood mark on the list of NBA MVPs.

As Max Lederman of NBC Sports Boston somewhat prophetically pointed out in a Sunday morning tweet, Tatum entered the game against the Portland Trail Blazers hours later with some impressive perseverance-related stats this season:

Now, we can factor in Tatum’s all-around greatness in the 128-124 win over the Blazers: 34 points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals, and one block across 40 minutes of action while going 11-for-22 from the field, including 5-for-8 from the bonus land, and 7-for-9 from the charity stripe. That’s certainly a far cry from his five points on 2-for-18 shooting two days earlier in Boston’s bubble-debut loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

This means the Celtics are now 6-1 this season in the type of contests that Lederman referenced. No doubt Tatum’s updated numbers in such outings of 27.1 points and 44.2 percent from 3-point range further speak to the 22-year-old’s stick-to-it-iveness. For the season, the former one-and-done Blue Devil is averaging 23.4 points, 7.0 boards, 3.0 dimes, and 1.4 steals while shooting 44.4 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from deep, and 80.3 percent from the foul line. Not bad.

What this Duke basketball product’s trend says about Boston’s title chances

Seeing that Boston’s top overall weapon is seemingly never off-kilter in back-to-back games, these bounceback stats speak to the notion that the Celtics will be a tough out for any opponent in a best-of-seven playoff series. In other words, good luck keeping Tatum’s hand in a frozen state twice in a row.

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With six games remaining in the regular season, the Celtics sit No. 3 in the Eastern Conference standings with a 44-22 record. They’ll face the 42-24 Miami Heat (two games behind Boston at No. 4 in the standings) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. (TNT) inside Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

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