Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum was proud of his performance in Wednesday night’s 125-98 road win over the Phoenix Suns, but the top MVP candidate has his sights set on a bigger goal: winning his first NBA championship.
“If we don’t put up a banner, it doesn’t mean anything,” the three-time All-Star said after the win. “We reminded him of that,” added Tatum, who struggled against Phoenix in previous games. “That was fresh in our minds. We want a different result.
At a few NBA betting sites, Celtics guard Jayson Tatum is the favorite to win the MVP in 2023. See which sportsbooks are projecting top-three possibilities for Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
— Gary Washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) December 8, 2022
Tatum and Jaylen Brown led Boston with 25 points in the win over the Suns. Boston had a 45-point lead over Phoenix in the third quarter.
Tatum finished with five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 30 minutes of scoring. He shot 9-of-19 (47.4%) from the floor and 3-of-8 (37.5%) from three-point range.
Celtics star and MVP candidate Jayson Tatum cares more about winning championships than regular season records.
Al Horford missed the game after experiencing flu-like symptoms. Malcolm Brogdon is back after missing one game due to a non-Covid illness. Brogdon had 16 points, three boards and five assists in 19 minutes off the bench.
After all, the Celtics have won eight of their last nine games. They are 21-5 and sit atop the Eastern Conference standings.
“You enjoy the season, but you have to understand why you did it,” Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzula said. “Then you must know it’s been a long year. This can happen to us. Maybe not, but we do go through some kind of hurdles throughout the year.
The Boston Celtics are undeniably the best team in the NBA!! They had a 45 point lead against the Suns in the 3rd quarter tonight, and the Suns have the best record in the West. 😳
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 8, 2022
Their defense is worse than last season, when they led the NBA in scoring with an average of 120.8 points per game. Boston is allowing 112 points per game, which ranks 12th overall.
Sportsbooks show the Celtics as clear favorites to win the 2023 NBA Championship. The only Eastern Conference contenders capable of challenging Boston in the playoffs include the Milwaukee Bucks (18-6) and possibly the Cleveland Cavaliers (16-9).