It has been a long time since one of the best-known Celtics fans has been around the team. That would be Deuce Tatum, the young son of Celtics star Jayson Tatum who, in normal times, is a fixture at NBA games at TD Garden in Boston.
Though it was a rough ending to Game 1 against Miami for Tatum, with his game-tying dunk attempt being blocked at the rim by Bam Adebayo with 2.5 seconds remaining in overtime, there was some consolation on hand for Tatum. Deuce completed his quarantine period and was, for the first time in two months, allowed to hang out with his dad back at the hotel on the Disney World campus of the NBA bubble.
Let’s look at the unpleasant part of Tatum’s evening first, the incredible effort from Adebayo:
Bam Adebayo is right-handed. This is his left hand, folks. pic.twitter.com/RXpfG4VL1R
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) September 16, 2020
And now quickly pivot to something a bit more positive from a Celtics’ perspective—the meeting of Deuce and his father:
Jayson Tatum is reunited with his son, Deuce ❤
— ESPN (@espn) September 15, 2020
Despite the loss, there was some comfort for Tatum in being around his son. Tatum’s mother is also now in the bubble.
“It’s great,” he said in his postgame press conference. “We’ve gone two-and-a-half-months or whatever without being able to see our families. So it’s refreshing to see some familiar faces, spend some quality time with him.”
Jayson Tatum: ‘Can’t Do Nothing About’ Adebayo Block
Tatum, generally, had a good night for the Celtics, scoring 30 points, even as he was only so-so with his shooting, going 10-for-24 on the night. He added 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocked shots and 3 steals and was the clear focal point of the offense.
But after the game, Tatum was asked about the block by Adebayo, a subject he pretty clearly was not in a mood to discuss.
“I had it open—he made a great play,” Tatum said. “That’s all it is, he made a good play. Can’t do nothing about it.”
After the game, Adebayo was pretty satisfied with the play, and excited to get a Twitter shout-out from Lakers great Magic Johnson, who called the block, “the best defensive play I’ve seen ever in the playoffs!”
“You get on that big stage, you just gotta make big plays,” Adebayo said. “I made a big, big play. Coming from Magic, that is a great comment from him. Just gotta keep getting better throughout the playoffs.”
— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) September 16, 2020
Tatum Came up Short on Three Clutch Plays
Tatum said the team would need to watch some film to figure out what went wrong in the game, what Miami’s defense was doing that helped limit Boston’s vaunted starting five to just 42.3% shooting on the night. The problem of getting complacent but the Celtics again, as they blew a 14-point lead to open the fourth quarter, paving the way for Miami to get to overtime.
“We got in foul trouble early in the fourth and that hurt,” Tatum said. “We’ve just got to be more consistent, continue to do what got us the lead, I think we shied away from that a little bit and allowed them to get back into it.”
Before having the dunk attempt blocked, Tatum missed a 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds remaining in regulation. He also missed a desperation 3-point attempt on the final possession of overtime that rimmed out. Had he made that shot, the Celtics would have gotten to double-overtime.
Despite three misses in the biggest of situations, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he has faith in Tatum’s decision-making late in games.
“I trust that he’ll make the right decision,” Stevens told reporters. “He’s a hell of a player, and when he has the ball, I feel good about it.”