Jayson Tatum: ‘Only Thing That Matters to Me Is Winning a Championship'

Informed after Saturday’s win that he leads the NBA in total points, Jayson Tatum made clear his priorities.

Tatum: 'Only thing that matters to me is winning a championship' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Jayson Tatum tops the NBA in total points this season with 1,915 through 63 games. With a 34-point outing in Saturday’s win over the Hawks, Tatum created a tiny bit of separation from Luka Doncic in what has become a two-horse race for the NBA’s top scorer.

Now, the NBA’s official scoring champion will almost certainly come from the trio of Doncic, Joel Embiid, and Damian Lillard. That entire group is averaging north of 32 points per game with less than a month left in the regular season. Tatum sits sixth on the per-game list, though remains on pace to become the first Celtics player in team history to average 30-plus points.

But Tatum’s durability has set him apart from many of his peers. That availability leaves him atop the list of total points scored, something that more and more analysts are putting value on, particularly in a league that loves its load management.

Informed after Saturday’s win that he leads the NBA in total points, Tatum made clear his priorities.

“The only thing that matters to me is winning a championship,” said Tatum. "Not MVP, not first-team All-NBA, none of that. I want to get back to the Finals and get over the hump.”

After a rough patch that saw the Celtics fumble away a trio of double-digit leads over a 96-hour span, Tatum took pride in finding a way to close out the Hawks to start a six-game, 13-day road trip.

Tatum, who got a rare offday last week, was highly efficient in his return against Portland right before this trip. He wants to play in as many games as possible over the final four weeks of the regular season. But he also knows that team brass will plead with him to find some rest days.

When asked if he has to push back when the Celtics want him to rest, Tatum smiled and offered, “Yeah, all the time.”

Tatum continues to shine this season while going head-to-head with other top scorers. He dominated the early portion of Saturday’s win in Atlanta while the Celtics built a double-digit lead then fended off a late charge from Trae Young and the Hawks.

Teammate Blake Griffin wants Tatum to bottle up that mindset.

"He's just a guy who makes the right play 99 percent of the time,” said Griffin. “And that one time, the 1 percent he doesn’t, well we’d rather him take that shot. So I don't really have to say much. It's just about encouragement here and there and his mindset, I think, going into every game. 

"A mindset that he’s the best player in the world and play like that.”

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