With 7.7 seconds left to play, Tatum – while both feet were still planted in the center court’s logo – saw the play’s initial option was to no avail so by the time he took his first dribble, four seconds had already gone by. He went left against Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Tatum then bounced the ball between his legs to create space and squared up for a 28-foot 3-pointer that clanked off the left side of the rim as the game clock expired.
The Pacers topped the Celtics 108-107 to improve to 3-0. Tatum finished with a team-high 25 points on 9-of-21 attempts from the floor.
Jaylen Brown added 18 points on 8-of-13 while Brogdan, who netted 25 points for Indiana, scored 15 second-half points to push the Pacers ahead late in the final frame. All-Star Domantas Sabonis finished with a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds).
Jayson Tatum On Final Shot Vs Pacers: ‘I Should Have Gone Up And Put More Pressure On The Defense’
After the game, Tatum admitted to reporters that the 28-foot 3-point attempt wasn’t ideal.
“No, that was on me, I should have gone up and put more pressure on the defense,” Tatum said after Sunday night’s loss. “Obviously, that’s a shot I like to take a lot, and I can get but we needed to put pressure and duress on the defense and the refs in that situation. I mean, it wasn’t the exact play we drew up but I should have just put more pressure on him – that’s on me in that situation.”
Tatum says he’ll gladly take the blame, for this one.
“I take full blame,” Tatum added. “I didn’t play nearly as well as I needed to, as I’m capable of and you know, and as my teammates expect of me.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens confirmed the inbound play that he drew in during the timeout offered multiple options and that Tatum was certainly one of them. Still, Stevens didn’t seem discouraged by Jayson’s shot selection.
Celtics’ Brad Stevens On Jayson Tatum’s Final Shot Vs Pacers: ‘Obviously, A Tough Shot But He Made It The Other Day’
Instead, he reminded everyone of Tatum’s game-winning 3-pointer over the Milwaukee Bucks Opening Night and how important it is for a team to have the ball in its best player’s hands at the end of a game.
“We were looking for a little bit of action for the entry where they were denying and it went to Tatum at the top and we’ve had that as an option,” Stevens said Sunday night. “Then I thought, Grant (Williams) tried to slip out of that thing and Tatum got separation but that’s obviously a tough shot.
“But he made it the other day, he’s one of our best players and certainly one of the guys you want to have the ball in his hands with the game on the line in the way he had the ball.”