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Celtics’ Jayson Tatum ties Larry Bird with 60-point game; key plays, reactions

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Celtics' Jayson Tatum ties Larry Bird with 60-point game; key plays, reactions

Jayson Tatum joined a legend in the Celtics’ record book Friday night.

The fourth-year pro tied Larry Bird’s franchise single-game scoring record with 60 points in Boston’s 143-140 overtime victory over the Spurs. Tatum matched the 60 that Bird scored on March 12, 1985, against the Hawks. 

According to NBA.com, Tatum is the second-youngest player to score 60 in a game, behind only Devin Booker (20 years, 145 days on March 24, 2017, vs. the Celtics). 

Tatum shot 20 for 37 from the floor (5 for 7 from 3-point distance) and 15 for 17 from the free throw line as he led Boston back from a 32-point first-half deficit. He put up 21 points in the fourth quarter and 10 more in OT. Two of his biggest buckets put the Celtics up in the closing seconds of regulation and overtime, respectively.

MORE: Mavericks’ lopsided win over Warriors continues NBA’s season of blowouts

A look at those two baskets, plus reactions by Tatum and others to his performance:

Key moments

Tatum hit a 3-pointer with 38.0 seconds remaining in regulation to put the Celtics ahead 127-126. It was their first lead since 5-4 in the first quarter. The bucket gave him 49 points.

He later made one of two free throws to put Boston up by two. The miss opened the door for San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan to tie the game by making two free throws with 10.8 seconds left. Tatum then missed a potential game-winner at the end of regulation.

In overtime, he gave the Celtics a 136-135 lead on a fadeaway jumper with 51.8 seconds to play.

Jaylen Brown’s 3-pointer with 16.7 seconds to play gave the Celts the lead for good. Tatum sealed the victory and tied Bird’s mark by going 4 of 4 from the line.

What was said

Jayson Tatum:

“I mean, obviously, anytime you’re mentioned with a top-10 player of all time … obviously that is a good thing. It’s something I never, I think, would have imagined at this age. I just come out here and play the game that I love and try to play at a high level. Once you kind of sit back after the game or just think about what it means for your name to be up there, it’s just us two, and all the players that came before you who put on this uniform. I mean, yes, it’s a big deal and I’m for sure grateful for the position that I’m in. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s a surreal feeling.”

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown:

“He did exactly what a great player is supposed to do. He was efficient, led us, hit timely shots, big baskets, real big-boy basketball.” Brown also said the 23-year-old Tatum “is destined for greatness.” 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens:

“He was amazing. You could see it all night. Thank goodness he was there in the first (quarter) or else it would have been 30-something to nothing, because I think it was 31- or 33-12 (eventually 37-12) and he had all 12.”

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Giants schedule 2021: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction

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Giants schedule 2021: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction

The Giants are hoping for a breakout third season with quarterback Daniel Jones in 2021. New York finished second in the NFC East at 6-10 under new coach Joe Judge last season, an improvement from 4-12 the previous season.

With better health, led by running back Saquon Barkley, and upgrades in personnel all around, the Giants are more confident that they can jump into first place in Year 2 with Judge. Here is a complete breakdown of the Giants’ 2021 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 17 games.

NFL OFFSEASON 2021:
Team-by-team draft grades | Latest power rankings

New York Giants schedule 2021

Here is the New York Giants’ complete schedule for 2021.

 

Week Date Opponent Kickoff time TV
1 Sept. 12 vs. Broncos 4:25 p.m. ET Fox
2 Sept. 16 at Washington (Thursday) 8:20 p.m. ET NFLN
3 Sept. 26 vs. Falcons 1 p.m. ET Fox
4 Oct. 3 at Saints 1 p.m. ET Fox
5 Oct. 10 at Cowboys 4:25 p.m. ET Fox
6 Oct. 17 vs. Rams 1 p.m. ET Fox
7 Oct. 24 vs. Panthers 1 p.m. ET Fox
8 Nov. 1 at Chiefs (Monday) 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN
9 Nov. 7 vs. Raiders 1 p.m. ET CBS
10 Nov. 14 Bye
11 Nov. 22 at Buccaneers (Monday) 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN
12 Nov. 28 vs. Eagles 1 p.m. ET Fox
13 Dec. 5 at Dolphins 1 p.m. ET Fox
14 Dec. 12 at Chargers 4:05 p.m. ET Fox
15 Dec. 19 vs. Cowboys 1 p.m. ET Fox
16 Dec. 26 at Eagles 1 p.m. ET Fox
17 Jan. 2 at Bears 1 p.m. ET CBS
18 Jan. 9 vs. Washington 1 p.m. ET Fox

The Giants have an interesting slate beyond their six division games against the Cowboys, Eagles and Washington. The other complete NFC division is the South, while the interconference rotation brings up the AFC West.

As a second-place team, the Giants also get the NFC wild-card Rams and Bears on top of the Super Bowl 55 champion Buccaneers. From the AFC, the Dolphins are the 17th opponent.

MORE: Strength of schedule for all 32 teams in 2021

Giants strength of schedule

The Giants, thanks to their weak division, are tied for the eighth-easiest schedule in the NFL with the Bills and Colts. New York’s 2021 opponents had a combined 2020 record of 128-142-2, a winning percentage of .474.

The two games against Washington lead the contests against returning playoff teams. The Rams, Bears, Chiefs, Saints and Buccaneers make it seven out of 17 games.

Toughest tests: The Giants get the Chiefs, Buccaneers and Saints on the road. The Bears, Chargers and Dolphins round out the nasty non-division away slate. Of the home games, the Rams are easily the toughest foe.

Biggest breaks: The NFC East should be better, but the division still provides their most favorable games. The Falcons, Panthers, Raiders and Broncos are a welcome quartet of contests to soften the blows at home.

Bottom line: Jones has everything around him to be more successful winning games. The Giants’ defense is in the next stage of its rebuild. Should Jones raise his passing and running, New York will have a real chance at an NFC playoff berth, either as East champs or fringe wild card.

Record prediction: 8-9

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Lakers injury updates: Are LeBron James, Anthony Davis playing vs. Rockets?

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Lakers injury updates: Are LeBron James, Anthony Davis playing vs. Rockets?

The Lakers will be short-handed for their Wednesday night game against the Rockets.

Los Angeles confirmed that both LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (groin) will be unavailable on the second night of a back-to-back following the Lakers’ dramatic overtime win over the Knicks, 

This will mark James’ sixth straight absence due to injury and his 22nd missed game in the team’s last 24 games.

MORE: Where the Lakers stand in the West’s playoff race

That said, James announced via his Twitter account that he is “getting close” to returning to action. James also said that he would attend Wednesday’s game to see the Lakers raise their 2020 NBA championship banner at Staples Center.

As for Davis, the Lakers said that the big man won’t be in action against the Rockets due to left adductor tightness. Davis toughed out the groin injury against the Knicks on Tuesday and then acknowledged after the contest he was “hurting.”

“I’m hurting,” Davis said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Not more so my body, just my groin got tight. . . . I’m not sure about [Wednesday]. I mean, I’m going to get treatment and see how I feel. I want to say I’m going to play, but it was really bothering me [Tuesday]. We’ll see how I feel [Wednesday] and then later on in the day.”

Evidently, Davis didn’t feel well enough to go, and it makes sense that he and the Lakers would play it safe. He spoke about not wanting his injury to linger and make him miss “a couple games.” It appears the Lakers decided to give him an extra day to recover from his latest malady.

Even without James and Davis, the Lakers will still have a chance to beat the Rockets. Houston is an NBA-worst 16-53 on the season and has posted a 1-9 record in its last 10 games. But it has already locked up the top spot in the 2021 NBA Draft lottery, so perhaps it will relish a chance to play spoiler and damage the Lakers’ chances of avoiding the NBA’s play-in tournament.

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Blake Bortles reportedly signs with Packers amid team’s rift with Aaron Rodgers

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Blake Bortles reportedly signs with Packers amid team's rift with Aaron Rodgers

The Packers are a bit shorthanded at the quarterback position at the moment. Because of an ongoing dispute between Aaron Rodgers and the team, Green Bay entered Wednesday with only one quarterback on its roster, Jordan Love, who is set to be at their in-person offseason workouts that begin Monday.

As such, the team is taking a proactive approach and is signing a veteran passer to serve as the third-string quarterback.

That would be Blake Bortles, who, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, signed a one-year contract with the Packers on Wednesday afternoon.

Bortles, 29, spent the 2020 season bouncing between the Rams and Broncos rosters and practice squads. He didn’t play a snap for either team and hasn’t started a game since 2018, his final season with the Jaguars. During the past two seasons, he has a combined two regular-season pass attempts.

TIMELINE: What led to Aaron Rodgers’ rift with the Packers?

For his career, Bortles sports a 24-49 record and has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions. He is merely a backup-caliber quarterback at best and will provide experience behind the 22-year-old Love.

Of course, some may be wondering what this means for Rodgers’ future. Does signing Bortles mean that the Packers are ready to consider trading the veteran quarterback? Have the two sides reached an impasse?

Probably not. Even if Rodgers were set to attend offseason workouts, he probably wouldn’t be taking that many early-offseason reps at this point in his career. So, Green Bay would still need another quarterback to come in and take some reps to avoid overworking Love.

If Rodgers were there and happy, maybe the team wouldn’t go after Bortles and would instead go after a younger player with more upside.

But all told, the team signing Bortles won’t have much of an impact on the Rodgers situation.

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