On a night where Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown played far from their best, the Boston Celtics defeated the Golden State Warriors 121-118 in overtime at TD Garden on Thursday.
Tatum and Brown struggled shooting against the defending NBA champions. Tatum made 9-of-27 shots from the floor and 4-of-13 shots from deep, while Brown made 6-of-18 shots from the floor and 1-of-4 shots from deep.
Both players hit the accelerator down the stretch, though, helping the Celtics tie the game in the dying moments of the fourth quarter before powering the team to victory in overtime.
Brown finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists and one steal in the win, while Tatum finished with 34 points, 19 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Thursday's win was a statement victory for Tatum, Brown and the Celtics, who are legitimate title contenders, and NBA Twitter lauded Tatum, in particular, for his late-game heroics:
Marc D'Amico @Marc_DAmico
An unmistakably loud MVP statement from Jayson Tatum during a win over the defending champs on national television:<br><br>34 points (game high)<br>19 rebounds (game high/career high)<br>6 assists<br>3 steals (game high - tie) <a href="https://t.co/jxkOggyhTW">pic.twitter.com/jxkOggyhTW</a>
Tatum has taken another step forward this season, and he's legitimately in the MVP conversation, entering Thursday's game averaging 31.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 43 games while shooting 47.1 percent from the floor and 35.2 percent from deep.
The Celtics improved to 34-12 on the season with the win. They currently have the best record in the NBA and look like true championship contenders ahead of the NBA's Feb. 9 trade deadline.