Celtics-Hornets takeaways: Tatum drops 51 as C's extend win streak originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Jayson Tatum led the way with a whopping 51 points in the C's Martin Luther King Day victory at Spectrum Center. Derrick White was Boston's next-highest scorer with 19 points. Malcolm Brogdon stayed hot with 16 points off the bench after dropping 30 in Saturday's win over Charlotte.
The Hornets made things interesting late, cutting the Celtics' 17-point lead to six heading into the fourth quarter. Jalen McDaniels played a big role with 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting. LaMelo Ball added 25 points of his own, but it wasn't enough to keep up with Tatum and the Celtics' juggernaut offense.
The Celtics will return home to face the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. They'll look to stay hot while avenging their blowout loss at Golden State back on Dec. 10.
Here are our takeaways from Boston's win over Charlotte.
Jayson Tatum's wrist seems just fine
Before the Celtics' trip to Charlotte, Tatum revealed he's dealing with "lingering" injuries to his wrist and fingers that have affected his shooting. Those ailments certainly weren't an issue in Monday's spectacular showing.
Tatum got off to a hot start with 20 points before halftime, then he dropped 31 in the second half for his fifth career 50-point performance. At just 24 years old, he becomes the Celtics' all-time leader in regular-season 50-point games. He's also just the fourth player ever to score 50+ points on Martin Luther King Day.
Charlotte once again had no answer for the Celtics superstar. Tatum has dominated the Hornets with 44, 35, 33, and now 51 points over his last four games against them.
Fourteen of Tatum's points came from the free-throw line, but he was also extremely efficient from the floor. He finished 15-for-23 on field goals including 7-of-12 from 3-point range to snap out of his recent slump from beyond the arc. He added nine rebounds and five assists for good measure.
Tatum now has 8,978 career points to move into the NBA’s all-time top ten scorers under the age of 25, per C's radio voice Sean Grande. Boston has 18 games before his 25th birthday on March 3rd.
Derrick White doesn't miss a beat
White was back and operating at 100 percent after exiting Saturday's win with a neck sprain. The Celtics guard got the start and was a key contributor in Monday's win.
He made his presence felt shortly after the opening tip, assisting on a Marcus Smart alley-oop for Boston's first basket of the day.
White finished with 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting (3-7 3P) to go with a team-high eight assists. It was his highest-scoring performance since Nov. 18 vs. the New Orleans Pelicans when he dropped 26. He was excellent on both ends of the floor and other than Tatum, was the biggest reason Boston was able to hold off Charlotte late.
Unselfish basketball is winning basketball
The Celtics are at their best when the ball is moving, and that certainly was the case in this one.
They dished 34 assists on their 43 made field goals. Grant Williams contributed a career-high six of those assists -- all in the first half. He did a little bit of everything in the win as he also had nine points and nine rebounds.
Williams was one of four C's with five or more assists. Tatum, White, and Smart (six) were the others.
The fact Boston's offense looks like this without star Jaylen Brown (right adductor strain) should petrify the rest of the league, but a big test awaits Thursday against the Warriors in another NBA Finals rematch.