Jayson Tatum Summarizes Celtics’ Issues With One Simple Flaw

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are up against the wall. They are going home down 3-2 against the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals. They’ve lost two consecutive games against the Warriors, and now they’re looking for answers. After losing Game 5 104-94, Jayson Tatum summarized the Celtics’ biggest issues with one blemish: ball control.

Tatum kept it simple in his postgame press conference. If the team takes care of the ball, they’ll win, and if they don’t, they’ll lose.

In Game 5, Boston turned the ball over 18 times compared to Golden State, who turned it over six times. The Warriors scored 22 points on the Celtics’ turnovers while Boston only scored nine on Golden State’s turnovers.

That 13-point edge on points off turnovers is larger than the deficit Golden State had over Boston in Game 5 when it was over. The turnovers weren’t the only reason Boston faces a 3-2 deficit – shooting 21-for-31 from the free throw line also hurt them – but it is something they need to fix if they want to win the 2022 NBA Championship.

Especially since the turnover issue has not been a one-time occurrence for the Celtics in the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

Celtics Turnover Issues in the 2022 NBA Playoffs

According to NBA.com, the Celtics have averaged 14.3 turnovers a game throughout the 2022 NBA Playoffs, which would put them ninth in the least turnovers averaged among the 16 teams that made it into the 2022 NBA Playoffs. In fact, they have averaged fewer turnovers than the Warriors, who are right behind them with 14.4.

However, turnovers have played a role in determining if the Celtics win their playoff games in 2022 or not. In the 2022 NBA Playoffs, they are 14-3 when they turn the ball over 15 times or less and are 0-6 when they turn the ball over 16 times or more, according to StatMuse.

These stats would validate Tatum’s words. When the Celtics take care of the ball, they have more likely than not been able to win the game. When they don’t take care of the ball, they lose. Based on previous evidence, if the Warriors force 16 or more turnovers again against the Celtics, they will win this series.

If they don’t, the Celtics still have a chance.

Tatum Sets Postseason Turnover Record

With the six turnovers Tatum had in Game 5, he has now set the record for most turnovers a player has had in one playoff run with 95. The previous record was set by LeBron James in 2018 when he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

However, just because Tatum has turned the ball over more than any player in playoff history does not indicate that his team will lose because of it. According to StatMuse, the next player on this list is Dwyane Wade when he turned the ball over 90 times in the 2006 NBA Playoffs. Wade also took home NBA Finals MVP that year when the Miami Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals that season, so it didn’t matter. Tied for fifth on this list is Shaquille O’Neal, who had 85 turnovers with the Heat that exact same year.

Most of the players on this list made the NBA Finals that very postseason, so Tatum’s place on here isn’t too out of the ordinary. No matter how things go for Tatum and the Celtics, he is more than likely to add to this total when the finals are done, as he has either one or two more games to go from here.

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