Jimmy Butler Issues Statement on Jayson Tatum After Celtics Lose to Heat

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Getty Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat is defended by Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics during the third quarter of game one of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Boston Celtics hold homecourt advantage in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals, but it’s the Miami Heat who are coming away from Wednesday night’s opener with a 1-0 series lead. Paving the way to victory for the boys from South Beach was Jimmy Butler who not only excelled on the offensive end but on the less glamorous side of the ball as well.

Coming into the contest, it was reported that the star wing had desires to matchup against Celtics centerpiece Jayson Tatum on defense, and, though there were many switches throughout the affair, during the pivotal fourth quarter he made his presence felt at the expense of the three-time All-Star.

Asked post-game what the “strategy collectively” was when defending Boston’s star forward, Jimmy Butler noted three points of emphasis, in particular.

“Stay down, don’t foul, [and] make everything difficult for him,” Jimmy Butler said on defending Jayson Tatum. “You got to guard him with all five bodies out there on the floor. I think we did an excellent job of that.”

Butler would continue on by noting that despite being pleased with his team’s efforts on the night, ultimately, “we still got another one to win.”

During the crunch time fourth quarter the Heat seemingly locked in on the Celtics star from a defensive standpoint, as they held Jayson Tatum to just six points, all of which came from the free throw line, and forced him into three grueling turnovers, which led to seven total points.

Jimmy Butler, on the other hand, once again had himself a sensational all-around game from start to finish, as he registered a game-high 35 points while shooting 48.0% from the field and 50.0% from deep to go along with 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and a whopping 6 steals.

Joe Mazzulla Says Celtics Dropped Their ‘Sense of Urgency’

The Boston Celtics may have lost their Game 1 matchup against the Miami Heat, but, for a large portion of the contest, they were sitting soundly in the driver’s seat. During the final two minutes of the second period, they even saw themselves holding a 13-point edge while coming off a 15-2 run.

However, throughout the third quarter, Boston saw their lead gradually slip away which, ultimately, paved the way toward them losing by a final score of 123-116.

Though there are many factors that played into their eventual demise, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla believes their loss is a result of simply letting their foot off the gas.

“We won three out of the four quarters. We lost one quarter because we dropped our sense of urgency,” Mazzulla said during his post-game media session.

The “one quarter” Mazzulla is referring to is the highly crucial third period where the Heat outscored the Celtics 46-25 while converting on a highly efficient 65.4% of their attempts from the field and 66.7% of their attempts from distance.

Outside of this particular timeframe, Boston outpaced Miami 91-77 through the other three quarters in Game 1.

Jayson Tatum Highlights Necessary Adjustments for Celtics

To no surprise, during his post-game media session, Jayson Tatum acknowledged that the 46 points let up during the game’s third quarter served as a major factor in Boston’s loss in Game 1.

However, when discussing the period, the forward highlighted the areas in which they needed to hone in on to prevent such an outburst moving forward.

“We gave up 46 points in the third so that’s defense, transition, offensive rebounds, and not closing out the shooters. There’s some things that we really gotta focus on and go over tomorrow at practice,” Jayson Tatum said.

Despite Tatum’s late-game struggles, overall, the All-NBA talent played as such during his 41 minutes of action. The 25-year-old led all Celtics players with 30 points on 52.9% shooting from the field while racking up 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block along the way.

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