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Bill Russell praises Jayson Tatum's dominant scoring streak

Bill Russell praises Jayson Tatum

Bill Russell praises Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant. But ever since he got drafted 3rd overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, Tatum ended up on the other side of the most iconic basketball rivalry of them all. On Friday, he put one of his best performances ever against the team he used to admire.

Tatum drops 37, wows the Celtics legends

Tatum led the Celtics to a blowout 130-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. He put up 37 points and 11 rebounds on 13-26 from the floor, all in front of Boston's Hall of Famers Bill Russell and Paul Pierce. "It's a surreal moment, obviously, Bill Russell and the impact he had on the Celtics and the NBA," Tatum said. "Having someone like Paul come to the game and someone I have a relationship with."

Tatum was especially in awe of Russell -- introduced as "a true Celtics legend" -- sitting courtside wearing a hat with Kobe Bryant's initials on it. He put up his second-best scoring performance of the season in the midst of his best scoring run of the year, prompting the Celtics bounce-back campaign.

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Russell praises Tatum's four-game stretch

Following Friday's win against the Lakers, Tatum dropped 33 points to beat the OKC Thunder. He then scored 30 in a victory over the Houston Rockets, hitting the 30-point mark in his fourth consecutive game. According to Sideline Sources, the C's star forward has averaged 33.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists on 50% from the field over his last four games.

The Celtics are 3-1 over the stretch, sitting as the sixth seed in the East after starting the season 2-5. And while everyone in the organization deserves credit for it, Tatum is the one leading the rally. Russell himself praised him for it, and the 23-year-old forward graciously responded.

The Celtics are 7-3 over their last ten games. They've won eight out of eleven games ever since Marcus Smart called out Tatum and Jaylen Brown for "not wanting to pass the ball." Following the players-only meeting held after the incident, Boston has been on a roll.

The team is still finding its identity. Ime Udoka is yet to find his groove as a first-year NBA coach. Brad Stevens is still getting used to his new job as the organization's president of basketball operations. But based on what we've seen over the last few weeks, the Celtics are finally on the right track. Tatum sure is, leaving Boston's all-time great optimistic for the rest of the Celtics' season.

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