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Jayson Tatum keeps Celtics' hot stretch in perspective after blowing out Suns

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns so badly on Wednesday night that Devin Booker felt like it should have counted as two losses for his team.

That's just the type of run the Celtics continue to be on at the moment, as their 125-98 win over the best team in the West was never once in doubt.

The victory was the Celtics' eighth in their last nine games, their 17th in the last 19 games, and their 21st in 26 games this season. That 21-5 record is a far cry from last year, when the Celtics were just 13-13 through 26 games, a run of mediocrity that didn't break until the end of January.

This year, the Celtics have the best record in the NBA, two games up on the Bucks and overflowing with confidence when they take the floor each night.

But heading into the year, Jayson Tatum made it clear that his lone goal this year was winning a championship. And he's not letting the current run distract from that aim.

"While we're having fun and happy with the way we're playing, nobody in that locker is celebrating or satisfied [with] we're at," Tatum said. "None of this means anything if we don't hang a banner."

Tatum's in the midst of an MVP-worthy season himself, ranking fourth in the NBA in points per game while averaging 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, a steal and a block per game. He's shooting 48 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range. Despite that on-floor push to elevate his own game, Tatum reiterated that the team goal remains the same.

"So that's the ultimate goal. It's a step in the right direction every night, the way we're playing, and I'm proud of that. But big win, it's a hard place to win against a really good team," Tatum said. "But ultimately, we won, and it's on to the next one."

The next one just so happens to be a Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors, on national TV on Saturday night. It'll only count as one game in the standings, but chances are the Celtics will be bringing their best energy for that one.

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