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Celtics’ Jayson Tatum: ‘I feel like I’m the best player when I step on the court’

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Celtics Jayson Tatum - I feel like Im the best player when I step on the court
USA Today Network

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is having an MVP season, and the three-time All-Star believes he’s the best player on the court during games. At least that’s what he tells himself.

“I feel like I’m the best player when I step on the court,” Tatum said following the Celtics’ 122-118 overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Tatum ended his night with 44 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in 44 minutes of action.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Celtics possess the best odds to win the championship in 2023. Some sportsbooks still show favorable odds for the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors.

Indeed, Tatum should feel like the best player on the court right now. The sixth-year forward recorded his fourth 40-point game this season. And the 24-year-old has logged 13 double-doubles as well.

Through 28 starts, the Duke product is averaging 30.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.0 block per game. Plus, he’s shooting 47% from the floor and 36.2% from 3-point range.

Furthermore, Tatum leads the NBA in points (845), field goal attempts (593), minutes played (1,036), and minutes per game (37). He led the league in defensive win shares (4.6) last season, and he currently ranks seventh right now (1.3).

Celtics wing Jayson Tatum believes he’s the best player when he steps onto the court

Twenty-nine games into the 2022-23 season, Tatum is the betting favorite to win MVP. A number of sportsbooks show the Celtics star ahead of Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid.

Although the Celtics outscored Los Angeles 37-24 in the opening quarter on Tuesday night, the C’s were outscored 60-45 in the second half. Boston played without Al Horford, who missed his fifth straight game.

However, during the fourth quarter, the Lakers blew a 14-point lead.

“Games aren’t won or lost in the fourth quarter or overtime,” Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla said. “We have to be elite at managing the end of the third, beginning of the fourth quarter.

“That is where NBA games are won and lost, and we didn’t do a good job managing that part of the game. So we’ll take the positives of how we worked to get back in the game and then managed a run to end it, but we’ll also focus on that stretch.”

Additionally, the Celtics are averaging a league-best 119.4 points per game. Their offensive efficiency rating also ranks at the top (1.156). But Boston has struggled on defense against playoff teams.

They rank 13th overall, allowing 112.6 points per game. Their defensive efficiency rating is 1.090, which ranks 14th in the league as well. Boston remains one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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