A former Duke basketball great put on a masterclass performance on Tuesday night.
In the house of his idol Kobe Bryant, former Duke basketball star Jayson Tatum cemented his MVP candidacy against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night in Hollywood.
Tatum and the Boston Celtics were finishing a six game road trip and looked like it would cruise to a victory with a 20-point lead early in the third quarter before things quickly came to a halt for the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Shots were missing and things were getting uncomfortable for Boston as the Lakers went on a run.
The run continued and grew larger as a 20-point lead for the Celtics quickly turned into a 13-point deficit with 4:25 left in the fourth quarter.
However, there was one last twist in the iconic rivalry game as Jayson Tatum delivered a jaw-dropping turnaround fadeaway jumpshot over LeBron Jame to tie the game, 110-110, with 16.6 seconds remaining.
It might have been the most impressive shot of the season for Tatum given the situation in the game and who was guarding him as he forced overtime.
It was all apart of his game-high 44 points, nine rebounds, and six assists on 15-of-29 shooting from the field while the former Blue Devil also hit a nasty midrange jumper to create some breathing room for the Celtics in overtime.
The Celtics (22-7) defeated the Lakers (11-16), 122-118, to close out its road trip.
Duke basketball star is clear MVP frontrunner
Jayson Tatum has been at the forefront of the Most Valuable Player conversation in the NBA this season but his showing in Los Angeles on Tuesday night has put him as the frontrunner for the award.
The 24-year old is averaging a career-best 30.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in addition to 4.1 assists, 1.0 blocks, and 1.1 steals per contest on 47.0-percent shooting from the field on the team with the best record in the NBA.
Tatum does not like to talk about his MVP candidacy but did tell TNT’s Chris Haynes after the Boston victory that he feels like he’s the best player every time he steps on the court.
And he might not be wrong.
The Celtics return home for seven consecutive games that begins on Friday night against the Orlando Magic (8-20).