BOSTON -- As someone with experience coaching Boston stars, Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked Thursday evening for his evaluation of the Celtics' latest.
Jayson Tatum, Rivers said, was already tremendous at only 21-years-old.
"Can you imagine five years from now, what he'll be?" Rivers asked.
Over the course of the next three hours and two overtime periods, he got a preview.
On the eve of his first NBA All-Star game appearance, Tatum scored 39 points with nine rebounds to help Boston outlast the short-handed Clippers, 141-133. Tatum made five of his 10 3-pointers and 14 of his 23 shots overall in a performance that ended with a standing ovation from the sold-out TD Garden crowd when he checked out with 12.3 seconds remaining.
The loss ended the Clippers' final road trip before the All-Star break at 1-3. They are now 37-18.
Lou Williams led the Clippers with 35 points. He scored 20 of them after the third quarter and finished with eight assists and six rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points.
The result was overshadowed by another injury to forward Paul George.
After making two of his seven shots in the first half for four points in 15 minutes, George did not return after straining his left hamstring.