Celtics Star Jayson Tatum Sounds Off After Late Collapse in Game 4

Jayson Tatum

Getty Images Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.

Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics made their championship chase much tougher after a 107-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.

A discouraged-looking Tatum said after the game that taking the hard route to the franchise’s first title since 2008 was never their intention.

“We don’t do this s*** on purpose. I promise you we don’t. We try as hard as we can, but there are certain things we got to clean up,” Tatum told reporters after the loss. “Obviously, turnovers, movement on the offensive end. Would we have liked to have won today and be up 3-1? That would have been best-case scenario.

“But it’s the Finals. The art of competition. They came here feeling like they had to win. It wasn’t easy. I think that’s kind of the beauty of it, that it’s not going to be easy. It shouldn’t be.”

Tatum disappeared during the fourth quarter, going just 1-of-5 from the floor and not appearing to have a sense of urgency as the Warriors began to take control of the game.

“I just got to be better,” Tatum said. “I know I can be better, so it’s not like I, myself or my team is asking me to do something I’m not capable of. They know the level and I know the level that I can play at.”

After splitting the games in Boston, the series shifts back to the Bay Area for Game 5. Tatum isn’t looking forward to the cross-country flight.

“It’s a new series, best of 3,” Tatum said. “Get some sleep, and get on this long-ass flight tomorrow.”

Jayson Tatum Takes Heat After Loss

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Tatum has played good but not great during his first Finals appearance, lacking consistency and a defining game, one in which he’s looked unquestionably like the best player on the floor. That hasn’t sat well with former Celtics champ Kendrick Perkins, who called out Tatum after his lackluster Game 4.

“What I saw today was that the best player on one team was ready for the occasion and rose the occasion, and I’ve been waiting for the best player on our team — the Celtics — to rise to the occasion,” Perkins said. “Where the hell is Jayson Tatum at the moment. Like, real talk. Where is Jayson Tatum? And I’m not talking about 25 points on 22 shots or going 8 for 23 tonight. When is he going to arrive in the Finals and have that big moment. You’re a first-team all-NBA guy — show it!”

Tatum finished the game with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists but is struggling to be efficient. He’s shot just 33.4% from the field during the series. What also doesn’t help him is the fact that Stephen Curry has been on fire for the Warriors. The two-time MVP is averaging 34.3 points on nearly 50% shooting.

Tatum is dealing with a stinger in his shoulder, which he suffered against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. It could explain why he’s looked off his game.

“Jayson, I think it’s a stinger that’s going to flare up whenever he gets hit the wrong way,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said on June 9. “Not sure if it has any impact on him finishing. He is still shooting the ball from 3. Just the initial hit where you’ve seen him get — had to shoot some free throws after, might be a little numb there. He is shooting 3s right after, so I’m not sure it hampers his ability to finish at all.”

Inside the Celtics locker room, Tatum’s teammates are doing their best to support him.

“We are all telling him ‘We trust you and we believe in you,'” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. “Jayson has to figure it out. He will.”

Celtics Upset Over Stagnant Offense

The Celtics held a six-point lead near the midway mark of the fourth quarter but scored just six points the rest of the way, settling for shots and not moving the ball.

“We obviously felt like we put ourselves in the position to win the game. There’s a lot of things we wish we would have done differently, especially on the offensive end,” Tatum said. I think we just got way too stagnant late in the fourth from everybody.”

Turnovers were also a bugaboo for the Celtics, with Boston amassing 16 in the game that led to 17 Golden State points.

“At times, we get unorganized and get on top of each other. And that’s where those turnovers come from,” Jaylen Brown said.

Game 5 is scheduled for Monday at Chase Center.

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Alex Holder
Alex Holder
2 months ago

That’s bullshit he’s playing soft ass bball it’s clear to see, No defense not going all the way to the rim he looks scared as fck out there grow some ball Tatum even white who probably weighs 150 pounds plays hard!

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