Tatum: This is the ‘best I've felt' to start an NBA season with Celtics


A strong case can be made for Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum as the frontrunner for NBA MVP right now.

Tatum led the Celtics to a 117-108 win over the Detroit Pistons on the road Saturday night. He scored a game-high 43 points on 14-of-28 shooting, including a 28-point second half.

He now has 13 40-point games in his career, moving him past John Havlicek for third place in team history. Just Paul Pierce (21) and Larry Bird (47) are above Tatum in 40-point games as a Celtic.

Tatum has been a bit of a slow starter at times in his career, but he's come out of the gates red hot to begin the 2022-23 season. He's averaging 31.4 points per game and leads the league in total points with 420.

"This is definitely the best I've felt to start a season," Tatum told reporters after beating the Pistons. "It feels like how I felt I was playing toward the end of last season when we really went on that run going into the playoffs. It feels great to start a season like this.

"I definitely know what it feels like to be on the other side -- being .500, struggling shooting the ball and really trying to figure it out. The way we're playing, it's fun."

Tatum's latest MVP-like performance came at the perfect time for the Celtics, who were without Jaylen BrownAl HorfordMalcolm BrogdonRobert Williams and Danilo Gallinari against the Pistons.

Saturday's win gives the Celtics the league's second-best record at 10-3. At this rate, it would be pretty surprising if Tatum isn't at the center of the MVP debate late in the season. He's playing at an elite level on both ends of the floor.

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