Fans Point to Viral Video as Reason Celtics Ruled Out Jayson Tatum vs. Magic

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

If the Boston Celtics are going to avenge their December 16 loss to the Orlando Magic when they face off again on December 18, they’re going to have to do it without Jayson Tatum.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Tatum has been ruled out of the rematch with Orlando due to personal reasons. According to fans across social media, it would seem that Tatum’s absence is due to his son’s birthday party, as the Celtics superstar has been posting pictures of the shindig to his Snapchat account. 

“Helpful Reddit comment: “Before anyone freaks out, on Snapchat Deuce is having a huge birthday bonanza and it looks like all his family is in town. It looks like he’s just taking the day off lol,” Twitter user @FirstToTheFloor posted shortly after the news broke. 

Tatum, 24, was one of the only Celtics to make a difference during Boston’s 117-109 loss to Orlando, ending the game with 31 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals while shooting 45% from the field, but just 25% from deep. 

Unfortunately for the Celtics, Tatum’s perimeter struggles were symptomatic of the team’s overall performance, as they shot just 11-of-46 from three-point range, shooting just 23.9% as a team.

Joe Mazzulla Urges Celtics to Focus on Defense

After 30 games, the Celtics ranked second in the NBA for three-point attempts per game, taking 41.7 shots from behind the perimeter, and sit fourth in conversion rate with a 38.6% success rate. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that against the Magic, Boston chose to live and die by the three. However, according to interim head coach Joe Mazzulla, who was speaking to the media in his post-game press conference, the team has to find other ways to impact a game when their shots aren’t falling.

“If you’re open, you gotta shoot it. And we’re open. So, I’m not going to tell someone that’s open not to shoot it…When we don’t shoot well, we need to find other areas to affect the game, and that starts with our defense…Even when they’re not going in, you gotta fight. Keep moving the ball and shoot it. And as far as defensively, we can get stops, get out, and get easy ones. That’s just one part of it, and I think it has more to do with our defensive stretches… Just gotta get better in that area,” Mazzulla said.

In fairness, the Celtics’ defense has been trending in the right direction as of late, with the team currently ranked 9th in the NBA for defensive rating – a statistic that will only improve now that Robert Williams has returned to the rotation. 

Jayson Tatum Was Shocked at Al Horford’s Ejection

During the Celtics’ December 16 battle with Orlando, veteran big man Al Horford was ejected from the game for illegal contact with Mo Wagner. When speaking with the media in his post-game press conference Tatum shared his belief that the ejection was a step too far by the referee’s. 

“That was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe Al got thrown out the game. I didn’t think that was warranted. Especially once they went to go review, they saw that Mo fouled him; first, that’s how I got to shoot the free throws. You know, sometimes guys get tired of people grabbing on them and the ref not seeing it. So, s***, as a grown man, you take it in your own hands to get somebody up off of you, and that’s all he did, just got him up off of him because he was getting fouled. I don’t think Al deserved to get thrown out of the game at all,” Tatum said.

Horford had just returned to the Celtics rotation having missed the previous five games due to the birth of his child. Boston fans will now be hoping Horford can keep his cool on December 18, especially since Tatum will not be suiting up to play.