East Notes: Celtics, Jayson Tatum, Heat, Bucks


Star wing Jayson Tatum erupted for 31 points in Tuesday’s win over the Nets, but said he wasn’t out to finish with a massive number. He just wanted to win. Tatum finished with 41 and Boston has now won five in a row.Jayson Tatum

“We’ve got a really good team where in any given possession we could have two, three advantages and it’s not always just going to be me,” Tatum told reporters. “So just understanding that and knowing that I need my teammates. I need everybody, we all need each other.”

  • Tatum is now at 25 regular-season games of at least 40 points. This despite taking just nine shots in the second half on Tuesday.


Rookie forward Nikola Jokic entered Tuesday’s road game against the Bucks having played just a total of three minutes since Jan. 27. But with star forward Jimmy Butler out, Jovic was needed.

He delivered with a career-high 24 points in a stunner of a blowout win.

“I know how much work I need to put in to be able to play,” Jovic said. “It feels great.”

Amazingly, the Heat were also minus injured guard Terry Rozier and wing Josh Richardson. Yet they won in a rout over the same team they upset in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last season.

  • Coach Erik Spoelstra on the win: “You talk about the guys we’re plugging in to play, they’ve all played a bunch of quality minutes. It’s not as if you’re playing guys where you’re not really sure whether they can impact winning. These guys have done that. They’ve earned that. They’ve proven that. We have a bunch of competitors in our locker room.”


The Bucks fell to 3-6 under coach Doc Rivers following the ugly home loss to the short-handed Heat. Miami actually led by as many as 31 points.

“They were quicker on everything on both ends,” Rivers said. “You have these nights, you have them, but it is what it is. I thought as bad as it looked defensively, I thought our offense was way worse tonight.”

  • Forward Khris Middleton missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle.
  • Interestingly, the loss came one night after an impressive win over the defending champion Nuggets.
  • Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 23 vs. the Heat but failed to attempt a free throw. The last time that happened also came in a game vs. the Heat, nearly a year ago (Feb. 24, 2023). But Antetokounmpo only played six minutes in that game before exiting with a knee issue.

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