Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has scored in double figures in 28 straight games, a stretch that includes its personal ups and downs.
The key to consistency, as Tatum sees it, is keeping an even keel and a short memory. Which means erupting for a career-high 41 points Saturday to help Boston beat New Orleans won’t matter to Tatum when tipoff arrives against the visiting Chicago Bulls on Monday.
“I never get too high or too low when I play well or if I don’t,” Tatum said after the Celtics snapped a three-game skid. “For me, I feel like I got a long way to go. And the guys I look up to, they have nights like (Saturday) more often than not. … I’m just gonna try to do it more often, be consistent and continue to get better.”
Tatum wasn’t the only Boston player who shined, as the team enters Monday on the heels of a torrid offensive effort. Enes Kanter had season highs in points (22) and rebounds (19) to help the Celtics establish a new season high for points in a quarter with 41 in the first and then again with 42 in the third. Their 72 first-half points tied a season best.
Boston, which is 15-3 at home, scored 140 points for the second time this season and has reached triple digits in five of its past seven games.
Chicago snapped a six-game losing streak with Saturday’s 108-99 victory at Detroit, dispatching the Pistons for the fourth time in as many tries this season.
Improved play from resilient reserves in the frontcourt helped the Bulls prevail, as rookie Daniel Gafford and Luke Kornet both showed flashes of strong play in relief of injured center Wendell Carter Jr., who’s out four to six weeks with a sprained right ankle.
Gafford, who made the first two starts of his career on Friday and Saturday, contributed 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting with seven rebounds. The second-round pick also had a blocked shot in a bounce-back effort after struggling during Friday’s home loss to Indiana.
“I didn’t carry over anything from (Friday) night,” Gafford said. “That was somewhat of a bad game for me. I was doing a lot of things on defense that I don’t do personally. I wanted to have a different look on it. I wanted to be more efficient.”
Kornet recorded two blocks and his offensive contributions helped the Bulls stretch the floor. Kornet drilled three 3-pointers on his way to 15 points as the team produced five double-figure scorers.
Bulls coach Jim Boylen, who lauded Kornet’s character after the game, kept showing faith in Kornet, who finished the game at plus-20.
“With Wendell out, we need people to step up,” Kornet said. “You have to do your best to stay ready. The beginning of the season was really disappointing and difficult, going through some stuff. It’s good to help the team because that’s what I was brought here to do.”
Chicago is 1-15 this season against teams with records of .500 or above, including a 111-104 home loss to the Celtics on Jan. 4. The teams are set to meet again on March 15 in Chicago before closing the regular season on April 15 at Boston.
–Field Level Media