Tatum passes Bird as Celtic with most 30-point games through seven seasons

Tatum passes Bird as Celtic with most 30-point games through seven seasons originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Jayson Tatum has once again entered his name into the Boston Celtics history books, this time for passing franchise legend Larry Bird as the Celtic with the most 30-point games through seven seasons.

The 2017 third-overall pick logged 41 points in Boston’s 118-110 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, giving Tatum his 128th career game over 30 points, a new franchise high. Tatum passes Bird, who had logged 127 through his first seven seasons.

Tatum came out of the gate hot on Tuesday night, scoring 31 points in just the first half to tie a career-best first-half scoring total. The Duke product finished the night converting on 14 of his 26 of his shot attempts, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.

“I got some easy ones,” Tatum told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin of his hot first half. “I got out in transition, I got some free throws, I got some kick-outs on open 3s — I was just in a good rhythm.”

In a game which the Celtics once held a 20-point lead, the Nets clawed their way back in the fourth quarter to put some pressure on Boston. In a move to put his team first, Tatum deferred from scoring for most of the second half to play decoy, allowing his teammates to find open shots.

“[I was] kind of being a decoy at times,” Tatum said of his second-half strategy. “I knew I had 31, they were going to guard me differently, so I tried to get assists, hockey assists, move the ball, and manipulate the defense.”

Along with Tatum’s five assists, the five-time All-Star also logged 14 rebounds, two steals, and a block, making his presence known all over the court.

The Celtics won’t have much time to recover before once again facing the Nets on the second night of a back-to-back in Boston on Wednesday night. While Kristaps Porzingis remained sidelined on Tuesday with Al Horford active, the two bigs will likely swap roles with Horford not playing on the second night of back-to-backs.