Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum could have had his moment

BOSTON – With just over a minute remaining in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the Celtics coach Ime Udoka pulled his starters. This signific...


BOSTON – With just over a minute remaining in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the Celtics coach Ime Udoka pulled his starters. This significated Jayson Tatum had a minute to sit on his own and feel the weight of disappointment that comes with defeat.

“It hurts,” Tatum said. “Being with this group, the things that we have overcome throughout the season, getting to this point. Just knowing how badly we wanted it, to no avail. It’s a terrible feeling.

He lowered his head as he spoke, staring at the table he was sitting behind.

Minutes before, Tatum had had to endure the indignity of watching another team, Golden State, celebrate winning a championship on home turf. He politely congratulated his opponents, then walked away with a blank look on his face. When a fan stood up from the bleachers and grabbed the towel from his shoulders, Tatum didn’t even react.

He hadn’t been at his best in the Finals, often guarded by Golden State’s Andre Wiggins. In the deciding game, Tatum scored just 13 points with 7 assists and 3 rebounds, while committing 5 turnovers. He capped off a tough streak in which he struggled to find a rhythm offensively. At 24, he is a fundamental part of Boston’s young coreand this could have been his moment.

On June 1, the day before the finals started, Tatum spoke to the media and said he wanted to be honest.

“There were times when I wondered if I’m the right kind of person to lead a band like this,” he said. “You know, I never doubted myself, but just moments after some of those defeats and the toughest parts of the season. It’s human nature to question yourself.

He said it was important to “always stick to what you believe in and have faith in the work you have done”.

Then he continued.

“You know, it can’t rain forever.”

The Celtics had opened the season in a staggered fashion, losing their first two games and, at the start of January, 19 others. They were 18-21 and looked destined for an off-season start. But led by Tatum, they turned the tide. They roared through the second half of the season and won the second seed in the East.

The playoffs looked like a formidable challenge, but Tatum’s Celtics, the hottest team in the league, could have risen to the occasion. In the end, they didn’t succeed.

“One thing he always did throughout the season was see a lot of different covers and figure it out,” Udoka said. “He did that throughout the early series. This one was rough. Very cohesive team that did some things to limit it and make others pay.

“For him it’s just about continuing to grow and understanding that you’re going to see that the rest of your career. This is just the start.”

Tatum already has a remarkable resume. He was named an NBA All-Star for the past three seasons. This year, he was also named to the All-NBA First Team. For his performance against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, Tatum was awarded the Eastern Conference Finals. Most Valuable Player Award.

He averaged 26.9 points per game during the regular season and just 2.9 turnovers per game. His rotation numbers were lower than most players with better scoring averages than him.

When asked what the Celtics need to improve on, Tatum said, “I think our level of balance at times throughout this series and previous series, myself included. Taking care of the ball, things like that.

For the Celtics as a whole, turnovers have been a problem in the Finals. Boston lost the last three games of the series, committing 15 turnovers in Game 4, another 18 in Game 5 and a painful 22 in Game 6. Golden State also had its reckless moments but responded with enough blood. -cold to recover.

“It’s easy to look back and see all the things you could have done better,” Tatum said. “We tried. I know that for a fact.

To single out Tatum’s offense would be to miss a bit of context in a series that had a defensive bent. Boston couldn’t score 100 points after Game 3. The Celtics held Golden State to 104.8 points per game, below its regular-season average of 111 points per game.

Tatum was also able to affect the game without scoring early in the series. The Celtics scored 120 points in Game 1, their best game of the final. Tatum only added 12 points. Golden State’s defenders made Tatum uncomfortable whether he tried to drive to the basket or shoot from the outside. He started looking for his teammates instead and collected 13 assists.

But as the series progressed, Golden State began to take away its other options and make Boston pay for its mistakes.

From Games 2-5, Tatum averaged 26 points per game but struggled to make a meaningful impact, especially as the stakes rose.

It was a departure from the start of the playoffs. When the Celtics were eliminated in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tatum scored 46 points with 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He shot 53.1% from the field this game.

It was a feat he couldn’t come close to equaling against Golden State. There were even times during the finals where Tatum seemed hesitant to take a chance if he was there for him, opting instead to look for teammates. He also struggled to finish on the rim.

“We all could have done it better,” Tatum said. “I feel like I could have done a lot of things better.”

Tatum hurt his right shoulder in the Eastern Conference Finals, but wouldn’t attribute his struggles to the injury. He was asked if he would need surgery and said he didn’t think he would.

Rather dejected after coming so close to winning his first championship, Tatum spoke only generally of the need for improvement and the difficulty of the night.

His teammates offered their support.

“I just gave him a hug, man,” Boston’s Jaylen Brown said. “I know it was a tough last game. I know, obviously it was a game that we felt like we could have won.

His coach also had encouraging words.

“The growth he’s shown as a playmaker this year and in some areas, I think that’s the next step for him,” Udoka said. “Understanding that, getting to where some of the veterans who have seen it all and picked up their tunes early in their careers are.”

He added: “High IQ, smart guy who will learn from it and understand it. I think that will propel him forward, definitely motivate him.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum could have had his moment
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