The Boston Celtics will play a pivotal Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on June 16. A loss would mean elimination for Celtics first-year head coach Ime Udoka and his squad and the fourth title for Steph Curry and the Warriors since 2015. The Celtics’ run started with their first-round sweep over the Brooklyn Nets. Though Boston made quick work of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum’s dad says he expected a long series after the Game 1 thriller.
“When they ran through Brooklyn like that, I was saying the Celtics in 6 or 7 or something like that, especially after the miraculous shot Jayson made because I was like, ‘This is going to be a grind of a series…’ but that light just stayed on, and they just dominated,” Justin Tatum said in a recent interview with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports.
“They knew that Brooklyn wasn’t a good defensive team, and they just had to slow down KD. And so, when they did that, and the rest of the boys stepped up, I was like, ‘We got something here…’ and it happened in Milwaukee, the same thing. That’s seven games that they went through. This team is relentless, and they really have a shot to win it all.”
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Tatum’s Dad Thought Celtics Would Miss Playoffs
Even though an elimination would be disappointing because they are just two wins away from a world title, it would still be a moral victory as the Celtics have arrived as contenders ahead of schedule. After moving former head coach Brad Stevens to the front office following a first round loss to the Nets last season, most expected a soft rebuild in Boston.
But the Celtics surprised everyone, slaying a murderer’s row of opponents on their way to the franchise’s first NBA Finals appearance since 2010. They finished the second half of the season with a 32-10 record to get here. But a 19-21 start to the season had some thinking it might be time to split up Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Even Tatum’s dad admits that he thought a move needed to be made.
“I didn’t think that they were going to make it to the playoffs at the beginning of the season. I told him, ‘I don’t like your team. Y’all bad. Y’all don’t share the ball, y’all don’t do a lot of this…’ and this was in November – December before they went on their run – I was telling him every day like, ‘Who are y’all gonna trade? Who are ya’ll going to let go? Y’all gotta figure out something’,” Tatum continued.
“Now to see them like this after beating the Brooklyn Nets, going through Milwaukee [the NBA Champions from last year], and finishing up Jimmy Butler; I did not expect it but, that’s what professionals are and those guys on that team showed what professionals are supposed to be like.”
Tatum Reacts to Jimmy Butler’s Game 7 Decision
The Celtics made it to the NBA Finals buts it has been no easy road. In fact they stared elimination right in the face in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami Heat Star Jimmy Butler had a chance to tie the Game but instead took a three-pointer to go for the win but missed. Butler came under the scrutiny of many for electing not to go for the tie, but (Justin) Tatum says he respects Butler for going for the win.
“I respect the hell out of Jimmy for that shot. He was playing the full 48 minutes.” Tatum said. “He said, “Either I’m pulling up for a three to send these boys home or I’m gonna go home!” and I mean when he pulled up, I just paused, and I was just like, ‘No way!’ but then when it went out I was like, ‘Oh my God! We won?’ But that was a memorable shot because either he was going to put that dagger in us or we’re going to be where we’re at now.
The Celtics proved to everyone their first-round sweep over the Nets was no fluke and that they will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. The Nets will have to make the correct roster moves if they want to have a shot at getting revenge next season.