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Jayson Tatum's 'Ridiculous' 51-Point Game vs. Hornets Leaves Celtics Fans in Awe

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 16, 2023

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 16: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket while guarded by Dennis Smith Jr. #8 of the Charlotte Hornets in the first quarter during their game at Spectrum Center on January 16, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

With Jaylen Brown missing his third straight game because of right adductor tightness, the onus was on Jayson Tatum to carry the scoring load Monday afternoon against the Charlotte Hornets.

He was more than up to the task.

Tatum absolutely went off to the tune of 51 points, nine rebounds and five assists, leading the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics to a 130-118 win at Spectrum Center. It was the fifth 50-point game of his career.

Taylor Snow @taylorcsnow

Jayson Tatum is now the Celtics' all-time leader in regular-season 50-point games. (He's only 24)<br><br>Celtics' 50-point game leaders<br>1. Jayson Tatum – 5<br>2. Larry Bird – 4<br>3. 5 players with 1 <a href="https://t.co/Vfk2ajPmyD">pic.twitter.com/Vfk2ajPmyD</a>

NBA @NBA

JAYSON TATUM 51 PIECE ‼️<br><br>HE DROPPED 18 PTS IN Q4 <a href="https://t.co/dinmve9N8T">pic.twitter.com/dinmve9N8T</a>

NBA @NBA

That's tough, JT 💪<br><br>He has 40 PTS, 9 REB, and 5 AST as the Celtics lead by 7 with 3:45 to go.<br><br>📲 <a href="https://t.co/WjxYAo0Ivs">https://t.co/WjxYAo0Ivs</a> <a href="https://t.co/DcJf0jfJxJ">pic.twitter.com/DcJf0jfJxJ</a>

Celtics on NBC Sports Boston @NBCSCeltics

Tatum just on a different level 🥶 <a href="https://twitter.com/jaytatum0?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jaytatum0</a> <a href="https://t.co/c3D9uBGQ0o">pic.twitter.com/c3D9uBGQ0o</a>

Celtics on NBC Sports Boston @NBCSCeltics

light work 💦<a href="https://twitter.com/jaytatum0?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jaytatum0</a> <a href="https://t.co/CJsGPGk85S">pic.twitter.com/CJsGPGk85S</a>

NBA @NBA

Tatum ➡️ Time Lord 🔨<br><br>Celtics lead by 13 in Q3 on NBA TV.<br><br>📲 <a href="https://t.co/WjxYAo0Ivs">https://t.co/WjxYAo0Ivs</a> <a href="https://t.co/DsK4MkS16r">pic.twitter.com/DsK4MkS16r</a>

Tatum was feeling it from deep in particular, shooting 7-of-12 from three.

Derrick White chipped in with 19 points and eight assists, while Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points off the bench. Tatum's big night spoiled Jalen McDaniels' career-high 26-point performance, while LaMelo Ball added 25 points and six assists.

But all the buzz on Twitter during and after the game revolved around the Celtics' star:

Michael Pina @MichaelVPina

tatum has 45 points. ridiculous all-around game from him.

Evan Turner @thekidet

Hoop like Tatum

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

Tatum is so far ahead of the defense this season. These normal-to-bad defenses have zero shot against him with how much more control he has.

Abby Chin @tvabby

MVP chants for Jayson Tatum just over 3 minutes into the game. Feel like that's gotta be a new record on the road. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Celtics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Celtics</a>

Joe Person @josephperson

Jayson Tatum getting serenaded with "MVP" chants by Celtics' fans … in Charlotte.

Mark Schindler @MG_Schindler

Some of these Tatum passes wheeeeew

Big Juice @Its_Kiirby

Bro Tatum has 40 and the Hornets are watching him just ISO everyone

david @bombogoon

tatum playmaking ceiling something special for a two-way mvp wing man

Cousin DPOY (not notable) @AndrewDoxy

Tatum's on another planet

Steve Perrault @Steve_Perrault

Jayson Tatum just dropped 50 points in the coolest way possible. This dude is so damn smooth.

Tatum finished 15-of-23 from the field and hit all 14 of his free throws. The only possible critique of his performance was his four turnovers, and honestly, nobody thought twice about that. This was as complete a showing as you'll see.

In the process, Boston claimed its seventh straight win, moving the Celtics to an NBA-best 33-12 on the season. Again, without Tatum's running mate, Brown.

Yes, his huge performance came against the struggling Hornets (11-34), one of the bigger disappointments in the NBA this season.

But 50 points is 50 points. Tatum put on a clinic for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, kicking off a full day of NBA action in absolute style.