For Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics, Monday night’s 101-98 overtime win at TD Garden — where Tatum committed eight of the Celtics’ whopping 20 turnovers while shooting under 40% against a shorthanded Indiana Pacers squad — wasn’t pretty.
However, in place of turning in what would have been the Celtics’ third loss in four tries, Boston prevailed.
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Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown netted a game-high 26 points on 11 of 26 attempts, including 3 of 6 from behind the 3-point arc and the go-ahead shot in the extra period that put the Celtics up by two (93-91) in the game’s final three minutes, and Boston never looked back. He also grabbed a team-high 15 rebounds and dished six assists.
Tatum’s fadeaway jumper, which knotted the game at 89 with 1.8 seconds left in regulation, paved the way. Jayson finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds.
Tatum, Jaylen Brown Lead Celtics in Overtime Win
The Pacers played without four rotation players, including Caris LeVert (COVID protocols), Malcolm Brogdon (Achillies), and Chris Duarte.
“It felt great,” Tatum replied during his press conference after Monday’s win. “I felt like that one would have hurt had we lost. But, throughout the course of the season, it feels good to figure games out like that when we’re not shooting the ball well. And, I had all those turnovers but just figuring out, and cleaning stuff up later. But, most important, we were just telling ourselves to find a way to try and win this game.”
Tatum on Partnership w/Jaylen Brown: ‘We Just Had a Talk’
For Tatum, how the win looks cosmetically is less important than how he and Brown responded to adversity. After beating the New York Knicks Saturday, Jaylen said the two had a meaningful conversation about the criticism he and his All-Star counterpart continue to face amidst the Celtics’ lackluster 2021-22 campaign.
Tatum reminded the media of that conversation between the two and the ongoing narrative surrounding his and Brown’s partnership.
“We see all the things about “we can’t play together” and everybody in the media is saying that one of us has got to go, and we just had a talk,” Tatum said. “We both want to be here, and we both want to figure it out because (there’s) not many players in the league like JB. The grass isn’t always greener. And, we had some great stretches, and I just think that this year hasn’t been what we expected but, I think, in the long run, it’ll be good for us.”
Tatum: ‘We Both Want it Extremely Bad’
Does Monday’s overtime win over the Pacers show growth?
“I think so,” Tatum replied. “I think some of our execution, down the stretch, late in the fourth, and in overtime was a lot better than some of our previous games early this year. So, that’s for sure stepping in the right direction.”
However, Jayson understands there’s still plenty of work to be done.
“We got to figure some things out but I think the most important thing is we both want it extremely bad, and we want to try to figure it out together,” Tatum added. “For us to just be on the same page, I think, is extremely important — just knowing that we got each other’s back. And, we going to give it all we got to figure this out, regardless of what people may say.”