Ime Udoka Sounds Off on Jayson Tatum After Celtics’ NBA Finals Loss

Ime Udoka and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.

Getty Ime Udoka and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics’ season has come to a close. And it did not end with Banner 18. Instead, the Golden State Warriors beat them in Game 6 by a score of 103-90, earning their fourth championship in the span of eight years.

Boston’s stagnant offensive, careless turnovers and lack of rebounding hurt them in Game 6 just as they did throughout the postseason. Golden State took advantage of Boston’s inexperience and, in part, won an NBA title because of it.

After the game, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was asked about Jayson Tatum, who struggled in Game 6. He was asked what Tatum should take away from this series, and Udoka stated that he needs to “learn who he is in this league.”

“Yeah, learn and understand who he is in this league. You’re an All-Star, All-NBA First Team guy for a reason. This is only the start of how you’re going to be guarded and the attention you’re going to draw,” Udoka told reporters.

Tatum put up only 13 points in Game 6 to go along with three rebounds, seven assists and five turnovers. He shot 6-of-18 from the field and 1-of-4 from behind the three-point line.

Udoka also discussed how this series, in particular, challenged Tatum.

Udoka: ‘This One Was a Rough One’

The Warriors put pressure on Tatum throughout the Finals. Udoka said that kind of pressure is something Tatum will have to get used to, calling the Finals an experience he can grow from.

“One thing that he’s always done throughout the season was seeing multiple different coverages and figured it out,” Udoka said. “He did that throughout the first few series. This was one a rough one. Very consistent team that did some things to limit him and make others pay. For him, it’s just continuing to grow and understand you’re going to see this the rest of your career. This is just a start.”

Ime Udoka: "The Future Is Bright and We're Just Getting Started" | Celtics vs Warriors Game 6BOSTON, MA — Ime Udoka was interviewed following the Celtics 103-90 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals on Thursday night. Golden State has now won their fourth title in the past 8 years, and the Celtics will now deal with the aftermath of a tough end to…2022-06-17T05:07:16Z

In the NBA Finals, Tatum averaged 21.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 7.0 assists on 36.7% shooting from the field and 45.5%shooting from the distance. He especially struggled to get things going from two-point range, shooting just 31.6% from inside the arc in the series.

Udoka piggy-backed on his comments about Tatum’s progression, saying that continuing to improve as a playmaker will be crucial for him as he heads into his sixth year in the league.

Udoka: ‘This Is the Next Step for Him’

The Celtics’ head coach praised Tatum’s development as a playmaker this year but also said that he needed to continue that improvement in order to make opposing defenses pay.

“The growth he showed as a playmaker this year and in certain areas, I think this is the next step for him. Figuring that out, getting to where some of the veterans are that have seen everything and took their lumps early in their careers,” Udoka said.

Lastly, Udoka complimented Tatum’s work ethic and said the loss would motivate him moving forward.

“Like I said, very motivated guy that works extremely hard. High IQ, intelligent guy that will learn from this and figure it out. I think it will propel him to go forward, definitely motivate him,” Udoka said.

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