Celtics’ Jayson Tatum Cuts his Hair, Finds his Shooting

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum dropped the shaggy look after his struggles on Friday

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum dropped the shaggy look after his struggles on Friday

It had to be the hair. At least when it comes to pure physical difference, that was the most noticeable change in Jayson Tatum from Friday, when he uncorked one of the biggest dud games of his career, going 2-for-18 from the field for 5 points in a loss to Milwaukee in the Celtics’ first game of the NBA restart. In that game, Tatum was sporting a decidedly shaggy look, having gone days without seeing a barber.

On Sunday against Portland, Tatum looked much more like himself, scoring 34 points, shooting 11-for-22 from the field and 5-for-8 from the 3-point line. The Celtics led by as many as 24 points in the game but wound up in a nail-biter down the stretch before sealing the win against the Blazers.

Tatum himself was never much of a fan of the long locks.

“I was going to cut my hair before the first game,” Tatum told reporters in his postgame press conference. “But my mom, my grandma, a couple people, they loved the curls and they wanted me to at least play a game or two with them. I was like, ‘All right.’ I wanted to cut my hair before the real games started. I guess it was coincidence, 2-for-18, that I cut my hair. I wanted to cut my hair before Milwaukee but it worked out.”

Jayson Tatum Found his Passing Rhythm, Too

The Celtics sealed a big win with some clutch shooting down the stretch, mostly coming from forward Jaylen Brown, who had 30 points, including 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting in the final nine minutes of the game.

Tatum was critical in setting up those looks for Brown. Tatum finished with 8 assists, and assisted on 5 of the 6 shots Brown made down the stretch. That was a career-high in assists for Tatum.

“I think he was obviously looking forward to playing well today after the other night,” coach Brad Stevens said. “It wasn’t just about the ball going in, I think he looked at it and said, ‘There is a lot that I can do to impact the game.’ He’s such a gifted offensive player and he’s got the vision to go along with it. I thought he made a lot of good plays. … He had several drive-and-kicks where he just made the right decisions.”

Tatum said he just wanted to find ways to pick apart the Blazers’ defense when it sent double-teams his way.

“It’s just making the reads, it’s as simple as making the right pass,” Tatum said. “Seeing double-teams, your job if you are getting a lot of attention, somebody is going to be open. It is as simple as making the right play.”

Deuce Tatum Makes a Celtics Fan Board Appearance

As an added bonus, Tatum got a look at his 2-year-old son, Deuce Tatum, who was watching at home and was on the Celtics’ sideline video board (along with franchise great Paul Pierce.)

“I saw Deuce,” Tatum said. “He is a fan favorite and everybody loves to see him. I was happy he was able to watch the game. I could see him watching and that’s what it is all about.”

As Marcus Smart explained in February, around the Celtics, Deuce is a much bigger star than his dad.

“He’s got everybody changing his diapers and, whatever he wants, they’re attentive to him,” Smart said, according to NBC Sports. “It’s definitely Deuce by far. Whatever Deuce says goes. Deuce cries and it’s always like, ‘What’s wrong, Deuce?’ When JT cries, everybody just looks at him. I gotta go with Deuce.”

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