Jayson Tatum calls his Game 3 performance “unacceptable”


BOSTON — Jayson Tatum hasn’t had many bad nights this postseason. But when the Celtics star is off, he is really off.

Tatum was nowhere near his superstar self Saturday night at TD Garden, hitting just three of his 14 shots and scoring only 10 points in Boston’s 109-103 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

While the Heat hit just about everything to start the game, Tatum couldn’t get anything going. He missed both of his shots in the first quarter and put up a goose egg for the frame, as Miami raced out to a 39-18 lead.

It didn’t get much better throughout the night. Tatum scored eight points in the second quarter, but he didn’t make a shot from the floor in the second half. He was 1-for-7 from downtown and had six turnovers in the Celtics’ loss.

He wasn’t very pleased with his performance after the defeat.

“Six turnovers, no field goals in the second half, that is unacceptable. I have to play better,” said Tatum. “I feel like I left the guys hanging tonight and that’s on me. I acknowledge that; that was a tough one.”

Jaylen Brown scored 40 points, but the Celtics turned the ball over 24 times — which included 19 steals by the Heat — and just never matched Miami’s intensity. Tatum said that half of Boston’s turnovers were caused by the Miami defense, while the other half were “careless” turnovers by the Celtics.

Tatum briefly left the game in the fourth quarter when he was hurt while committing one of his six turnovers. He crumbled after Victor Oladipo stripped him, suffering a stinger on the play.

“My neck got caught in a weird position. I went down and felt some pain and discomfort down my neck and my arm,” he explained. “Got it checked on and started to gain some feeling back. Doctors ran some tests and decided to give it a go.”

Tatum didn’t do much the rest of the way after reentering the game with 3:40 left. He took no shots and committed his sixth and final turnover of the night with just over a minute to play and the Celtics down by six.

It was a huge missed opportunity by the Celtics, who were able to cut Miami’s lead down to just one in the fourth quarter. The Heat played without star Jimmy Butler in the second half, leaving the door open for a Boston comeback. The Celtics, however, never kicked that door open all the way, and a lot of that has to do with Tatum struggling throughout his 41 minutes on the floor.

He vows to be better going forward, and there is reason to believe that he’ll do just that. Tatum also had a bad Game 3 last series against Milwaukee, when he scored just 10 points off 4-for-19 shooting. He responded with a 30-point showing in a Game 4 victory over the Bucks, and went on to average 33.3 points off 48 percent shooting the rest of the way against Milwaukee.

He’s promising another turnaround for Boston in Monday night’s Game 4.

“I just have to play better. Simple as that,” he said. “This time of the season, everything on the line, I just have to play better.”


Source : https://www.cbsnews.com/boston/news/celtics-jayson-tatum-calls-his-game-3-performance-was-unacceptable-heat-eastern-conference-finals-nba-playoffs/

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