Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum solidified himself in the early conversation for NBA MVP with a dominant performance on Wednesday against the Miami Heat.
Tatum poured in 49 points with 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead the Celtics to a 134-121 win at TD Garden. The 24-year-old shot 15-of-25 from the field and 8-of-12 from beyond the arc as Boston improved to 18-4.
Wednesday's performance was Tatum's fourth straight outing with at least 30 points. With the Duke product leading the way, the Celtics are the hottest team in the league with wins in 14 out of their last 15 games.
NBA Twitter was blown away by Tatum's dominance against Miami, with many declaring him the front runner for MVP:
Jared Weiss @JaredWeissNBA
There's been a few game management nuances that has catapulted Tatum to the front of the MVP race this year as he starts to hit prime form. One of the biggest is his feel for the moments in the game when he should go iso and put up heat checks, plus how to do it less predictably.
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Jayson Tatum registers his ninth 30-point game in November, tied for his most in a calendar month in his career. <br><br>Only Larry Bird (10 in March 1986, 11 in March 1988) has more 30-point games in a calendar month in Celtics history. <a href="https://t.co/tM05ZTELyM">pic.twitter.com/tM05ZTELyM</a>
Tatum had help on Wednesday, as Jaylen Brown added 26 points and Malcolm Brogdon scored 21 points off the bench. Boston was incredibly efficient, shooting 55.4 percent from the field and 48.9 percent from three-point range.
The Celtics look extra motivated to avenge last season's loss in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. If Tatum continues playing like this, it won't be a surprise to see Boston make another deep playoff run this year.
Tatum and the Celtics will look to stay hot with another matchup against the Heat on Friday.