Jayson Tatum turned 25 on Friday.
The Celtics’ forward has yet to achieve his ultimate goal of winning a championship, but his list of accomplishments is already quite long. He’s a four-time All-Star, a two-time All-NBA pick, and last season he led the Celtics to the Finals for the first time in his career.
“I guess I never really take time to think about where I’m at or the things I’ve accomplished,” Tatum said. “Time does fly. This is my sixth season, [I’m] 25. So I’m just trying to enjoy the moment, stay present because these six years in the league have flown by.”
Tatum scored 9,429 points before turning 25, the most in Celtics history and the seventh-most among all NBA players. Prior to Friday’s 115-105 loss to the Nets at TD Garden, the Celtics had outscored opponents by 2,405 points with Tatum on the court, the second-best plus-minus rating among players under 25. He has played 2,836 playoff minutes, third-most among players under 25 and the most in Celtics history.
“I’d like to think that I’ve been doing all right,” Tatum said, “and hopefully continue to get better and stay healthy and improve and win some more games.”
Mazzulla faces challenge
Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla has some challenging lineup choices to make now that Boston is essentially whole. He has consistently praised the players’ humility and said it has helped the team move forward without disruption.
“But that doesn’t mean they can’t be mad about a decision,” Mazzulla said. “I want guys to express their opinion. They should express their opinion. We’re humans. That’s important. But our team has a humility and I’ve always said that, and so we’re going to rely on that to get where we want to get to. Especially now, most teams are dealing with what we’re dealing with.”
Mazzulla pointed out that Boston’s regular starting lineup of Tatum and Jaylen Brown, guard Marcus Smart, and big men Al Horford and Robert Williams entered Friday’s game against the Nets having played just 68 minutes together all season.
“So some of the stuff that gets ironed out at the beginning of the season is getting ironed out now for us,” Mazzulla said. “We just have to work on that. But I trust our locker room, I trust our team, and I trust that every individual here will handle it, and that winning is the most important thing.”
Brogdon sits out
Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon missed Friday’s game due to right ankle soreness. The Nets were without guard Ben Simmons (back), forward Yuta Watanabe (knee) and guard Edmond Sumner (personal).
Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.