The Boston Celtics had a comfortable lead over the Detroit Pistons for most of Friday night's road game, but it wasn't until the third quarter did Jayson Tatum really make a strong impact offensively.
Tatum exploded for 19 points in the third quarter, helping grow Boston's lead from 15 at halftime to 22 entering the fourth quarter.
The Celtics' All-Star forward finished with a team-high 24 points as Boston held on for a 102-93 triumph that extended the team's win streak to a season-high four games.
Forsberg: Celtics have found their third star in Robert Williams
What sparked Tatum's scoring outburst in the third quarter? Well, it actually was a familiar face -- Pistons assistant coach Jerome Allen, who used to be on the Celtics' staff.
A little friendly trash talk from Allen at the start of the third quarter was all Tatum needed.
"I only had five points, and (Allen) said, 'You might as well put a coach's polo on tonight.' And I was like, 'OK, I got something for you,'" Tatum told reporters with a smile after the Celtics' win.
“We’re gonna see the Pistons again,” Tatum added. “Jerome was here — not Jerome. We call him Pooh. Pooh was here for my first four years and that’s like family. So, we obviously miss him, especially the guys that built a relationship with him. But we were happy to beat him, because we wouldn’t have heard the last of it if we lost.”
Check out Tatum's comments in the video below:
The Celtics and Pistons play two more times in February (16th and 26th) and on March 11. Detroit needs to figure out a new game plan to slow down Tatum because what we saw in the third quarter Friday night definitely isn't getting the job done.
Tatum leads the Celtics with 25.9 points per game. He was recently selected as a reserve for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland on Feb. 22.