Jayson Tatum on 33-Point Game vs. 76ers: 'I Want to Be That Guy' for Celtics

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2020

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics celebrates a three-point shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is ready to be the clear-cut No. 1 option for the Boston Celtics.

"I want to be that guy," he said following Wednesday's 128-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series, per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. "I want to be the guy to make the right plays, whether it's scoring or making the pass."

Tatum finished with 33 points, five assists and five rebounds as the Celtics took a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.

At this point, Tatum is "the guy" for the Celtics.

With Kyrie Irving no longer around, he averaged career highs nearly across the board in 2019-20 with 23.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 45.0 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from three-point range.

He led the Celtics in scoring this season and is a primary reason they are realistic contenders to make the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference. Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker will be tasked with carrying more of the scoring load while Gordon Hayward is sidelined with an ankle injury, and they all looked up to the task with 20 or more points each Wednesday.

Tatum and Brown combined for 61 points in a much more competitive Game 1 with a combination of three-pointers, floaters, mid-range looks and aggressive drives. Tatum was the go-to option in the beginning of that one, while Brown scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to help put the game away.

Tatum already has a poster dunk over LeBron James in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals and an All-Star appearance on his resume through three seasons in the league.

He is now looking for a ring as the top option on the Celtics.