Perhaps this season there is none more frustrating than Jayson Tatum. That’s what Celtics fans must be thinking as they experience a roller coaster-like season of hot shots and flops from the Boston star.
Against the Wizards, he planted 51 points, then continued with a performance of 36 points against the Kings, and the Celtics flew over the debates. Behind, he signs an ugly 5 of 17 on shots, and the Celtics lose Friday in Atlanta. That night, in New Orleans, he found his paw with 38 points on 17 of 26 on shots, and Boston found a smile to win 107-97.
It is simply his best shooting performance of the season, at 65%, and he adds 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. Only his 4 of 13 from 3-pointers does the job, even if he puts an important winning shot in the “money time”, but he especially signs a 13 of 13 from 2-pointers with a mix of circle finishes and shots midway.
A question of rhythm
“I think it’s just a question of rhythm” he explains about the performance of this night. “We are a different team when we play in rhythm. We make more passes, the ball bounces from one player to another, and then we just have to put our shots. Everything will not be perfect, we will miss shots, but as long as we are attentive to playing together and playing fair, it will happen more often. »
To give rhythm, he can count on Marcus Smart, who proclaimed himself leader of the team, and who distributes 12 assists this night. At his side, Jaylen Brown is also having a good night with 31 points. When the “Jay’s” each plant 30 points or more, the Celtics are undefeated this season.
“When they score easy baskets and they are on pace, they explode” sums up Marcus Smart. “Serving them when they run can only help us. »
Same speech with the Celtics coach. “We obviously know how much harder it is to fight when both are running at full speed” recognizes Ime Udoka. “They obviously shoot better, they attack the defense better, and they create play. That’s what we expect of them. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, we’re a really good team. »
For Tatum, it’s just a matter of confidence, and it comes early in the game. “We made stops early in the game, and that made things easier. We take the ball out, we run on transition, and we get easy baskets. We put pressure on the defense, and as a scorer, you know that by putting a lay-up or an open shot, you feel much better. You also know that everything else gets a little easier.”
Do not relax before the cut of the All-Star Game
Thanks to this victory, the Celtics show a positive balance (26v-25d), and it is necessary to continue to hang on the good wagon. 8th place, held by the Raptors, is a small victory away, and we must not let up. But the All-Star Break is coming, and Tatum remembers that the players, naturally, think of this week of “holiday”.
“I remember, during my first season, we were first, and we had lost three or four games in a row just before the cut of the All-Star Game” he says. “I clearly remember players talking about the cut and spending time with family, and that it was deserved. I think we have to keep it in mind, and tell ourselves that we are not the only tired team. We have to stay focused and insist. And then we can take some time and relax. »