Tatum had a rough start to the game, firing blanks from various spots. But as he’s done in recent years, he eventually found his rhythm and finished with 26 points, including 11 in the final quarter, and a career-high 16 rebounds to help the Celtics improve to 12-10.
After the victory, Celtics coach Ime Udoka revealed a rather interesting conversation he had with Tatum in the first quarter (via ESPN).
“I told him it would be nice to make a shot. He looked up at me and said: ‘I’ve got nine rebounds.’”
While some would misconstrue it for cockiness, it only goes to show that Tatum and Udoka have developed a special relationship. Both are not afraid to call out each other when needed. Tatum pointing out that he’s contributing to other facets of the game also shows his maturity as a more well-rounded player.
Tatum and Udoka have grown close after spending time with Team USA since 2019, and having their coach and star player on the same wavelength will only bode well for the Celtics, who are still trying to find consistency this season.
Udoka, who’s in his first year as Celtics coach, was just happy that his wards found a way to win despite their lethargic showing.
“I’m not really going to apologize for an ugly win. It happens.”