Jayson Tatum shot off through first four games of NBA Finals

Via the Boston Herald:

As evidenced by Steph Curry’s elevated level of shotmaking in this series, the greatest players are at their best in the NBA Finals.

Jayson Tatum, who has struggled to reach that level heading into Monday night’s Game 5, is still searching to do more after a slow start over the first four. He’s shooting 34% overall (28-for-82) and a particularly rough 27.5% on 2-point attempts, with a 45% 3-point percentage (14-for-31) that’s a bit misleading, considering his lack of opportunities and makes late in those games.

Though the Celtics star has admitted he needs to do more in a scoring sense, he remains focused on making the right play – an approach supported by his assist numbers (7.8 average).

“Obviously I want to win by any means necessary and I’ll do whatever it takes,” Tatum said before Sunday’s practice when asked about building his young legacy on the Finals stage.

“That’s all I really care about right now is winning,” he said.

Draymond Green comments on Jayson Tatum’s play in NBA Finals through Game 4

Via Boston.com:

Celtics star Jayson Tatum hasn’t played to his usual standards through four games of the NBA Finals, but Warriors forward Draymond Green — who has grilled his share of beef with Celtics fans — believes Tatum has still been integral to the Celtics’ success…

“It’s tough,” Green said. “You’re experiencing something for the first time. I think he’s handled it well. He’s maybe not shot the ball as well as he’d like or everyone else would like, but overall I think he’s been playing well, and that’s why it’s a 2-2 series, coming back for Game 5.

“I think he’s handling it all extremely well. He’s taking what the defense gives him, and that’s what great players do. But I think he’s doing a good job.”

Jayson Tatum discusses his shot heading into NBA Finals Game 2

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum did lots of great things in Finals Game 1 – when he wasn’t shooting. Here’s Boston.com on it:

Celtics star Jayson Tatum didn’t shoot well in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. He made just 3-of-17 shots from the field and was 1-of-5 from 3-point range, giving him 12 points on the evening.

Despite that, not only did the Celtics beat the Warriors in Game 1, but they also scored an astonishing 120 points against the league’s second-best defense. A big reason for that was Tatum’s playmaking. He finished with a career-high 13 assists on Thursday, which were also the most ever by a player in their first NBA Finals game.

While Tatum’s certainly expecting to shoot better in Sunday’s Game 2, he said he isn’t going to go out of his way to try and score.

“I don’t think [I’ll try to force shots],” Tatum told reporters at Saturday’s practice. “I had more assists than points last game. So I feel like I made the right play more often than not. You know, it’s not much to overthink. I feel like it’s a lot of shots, the open shots that I miss more often than not that I make.

“So it’s not something that I’m losing sleep over. You know, we won. That was most important, right? It’s the Finals. That’s all that matters. Obviously, I know I’ve got to play better. I can’t shoot like that every game and hopefully we win. I expect to play better shooting-wise, but just impacting the game in different ways to do my part, and let’s get a win. I will continue to do that. Just read the game, read each play. That’s how I kind of approach next game.”

Finals Game 2 is Sunday night at Golden State.

Jayson Tatum scores 54 points in Celtics win over Nets

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum had himself quite a game today on national TV in a win over the Brooklyn Nets. Here’s Boston.com:

As Jayson Tatum stepped to the line late in Sunday’s matinee game against the Nets, chants of “M-V-P” rained down from the rafters.

How can you argue with them? Tatum’s free throws were his 53rd and 54th points in the Celtics‘ 126-120 victory over a Nets team that was nearly whole — missing only Ben Simmons. Tatum rose to the occasion against Kevin Durant, who has arguably been the best player in the world for much longer than he gets credit. He beat double teams. He worked his way to the free-throw line 17 times. He buried eight of his 15 3-point attempts.

“Obviously, when you kind of get in that zone, the basket just seemed to be a little bit bigger,” Tatum said after the game.

Perhaps most importantly, when the Nets forced the ball out of his hands, he was a willing passer. The biggest shot of the game was Jaylen Brown’s back-breaking corner triple with 39 seconds remaining which was assisted by Marcus Smart, but the advantage was created when the Nets double-teamed Tatum.

“[Tatum] was unstoppable,” Brown said afterward. “I think that helps with your offense, right?”

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Jayson Tatum and Karl-Anthony Towns named NBA Players of the Week

Celtics All-Star forward Jayson Tatum has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week and Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Dec. 13-19.

It is the first time this season – and the fifth time in Tatum’s career – that he has received the conference’s weekly award.

Tatum produced a team-best 31.3 points on 50.0% shooting (36.1% 3-PT, 86.7% FT), 7.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals, and 38.8 minutes over three home games – including two Boston wins – against Milwaukee, Golden State, and New York. He registered at least 25 points and 5+ rebounds in each of the three contests, including a season-high 42 points on 16-of-25 shooting (7-13 3-PT) in Boston’s 117-103 victory over the Bucks on Dec. 13.

In 30 games this season (all starts), Tatum has averaged 26.2 points (42.3% FG, 33.2% 3-PT, 81.9% FT), a career-high 8.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 36.5 minutes. He has tallied at least 20 points in all nine games played in the month of December, averaging 30.6 points on 48.7% shooting (36.6% 3-PT), 8.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists during that stretch.

This is the fifth time in his career that Towns has won the weekly award (Nov. 20, 2017, April 11, 2016, Mar. 13, 2017 and Oct. 28, 2019). Towns joins Kevin Garnett (15 times) as the only players in Timberwolves history to win the league’s weekly award five or more times.

Towns is the only player in the NBA this season to average 20+ ppg while shooting 50% or better from the field and 40% or better from three. Following the 3-0 week by the Timberwolves, he ranks 12th in the NBA in scoring (24.4 ppg) and tied for 17th in rebounds (9.0 rpg).

The 7-0 center has helped the Timberwolves climb back to .500 on the season, moving to 15-15 after Sunday night’s 111-105 win over the Dallas Mavericks, tied for the second-best 30-game start for the Wolves since 2006-07.

In the Dec. 15 124-107 victory at Denver, Towns scored 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting, while adding four rebounds, four assists and three steals, marking his seventh 30+ point game of the season and extending his franchise record to 85 career games with 30 or more points. With his three-pointer with 6:40 left in the third quarter against the Nuggets, Towns eclipsed 10,000 career points, joining Garnett as the only players in Timberwolves history to score 10,000+ points. He additionally became the first player from the 2015 draft class to notch 10,000 career points.

On Dec. 17 against the Los Angeles Lakers, Towns tallied his 12th 20+ point/10+ rebound game of the season (218th career), finishing with 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Since he entered the league in 2015-16, no other player has registered more 20/10 games.

Towns finished the week on Dec. 19 against the Mavericks, leading the way for the Wolves with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists, accounting for his 24th 20+ point game of the season (292nd career). He shot 11-of-13 from the charity stripe, marking a season-high for free throws made and was his third game of the season tallying 10+ free throws. The stat line also marked Towns’ seventh game of the season with 20+ points/5+ rebounds/5+ assists.

Celtics on four-game winning streak

On the court, the Celtics are on a four-game winning streak. Off the court, some phone calls are being made. Via Boston.com:

When former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins criticized Celtics star Jayson Tatum for his body language during a loss to the 76ers earlier in April, it may have been a turning point for the Celtics.

The Celtics won their fourth straight game since Perkins’s criticism on Tuesday, and the player-turned-analyst shared that Tatum reached out to him to discuss the criticism. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge appreciated that Tatum did that.

“I love the fact that Jayson Tatum picked up the phone and called Perk. That’s good that they have that connection,” Ainge said in an interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” Thursday. “I know that Perk only cares for Jayson’s success. I think that there’s players available (to talk), and I also know that players in our league now, they’re listening to other players.”

Jayson Tatum will start in place of Kevin Durant in 2021 NBA All-Star Game

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum will replace injured Nets forward Kevin Durant as a starter in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.

Tatum had previously been named an All-Star reserve.

Also today, it was announced that Durant’s injury replacement on the All-Star team is Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis.

The Nets today announced that Durant will remain out through the All-Star break.

Jayson Tatum scores 40 in Celtics win over Raptors

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has much potential as any young star in the league. Here’s Boston.com on what he did to the Raptors yesterday:

The Boston Celtics put together an emphatic win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday, rolling over their Atlantic Division rivals in a 126-114 victory that was only close thanks to a garbage-time meltdown by the Celtics’ bench…

Jaylen Brown has been the Celtics’ star in the early going, but Tatum reminded everyone watching what he can do when he gets on track. Tatum has been dealing with an unprecedented amount of defensive attention — teams saw what he did last year and began blitzing and doubling him out of the pick-and-roll. That worked particularly well with multiple bigs in the game.

On Monday, however, the Celtics quickly went away from their starting double-big lineup which helped dig a 22-10 hole and never looked particularly effective as Toronto bombed away from 3-point range. As soon as Boston did, Tatum took over. He compiled 26 points in the first half, including 21 in the second quarter, en route to a 40-point night — just one point shy of his career-high.

Celtics sign Jayson Tatum to contract extension

The Boston Celtics on Wednesday, November 25 signed All-Star forward Jayson Tatum to a contract extension.

According to the Boston Globe, “Tatum and the Celtics have agreed to a five-year, $195 million designated rookie max extension. The contract will begin during the 2021-22 season and it includes a player option in the fifth and final year.”

“Jayson has emerged as one of the best two-way players in the NBA through his first three seasons, and will continue to get better and better as a player and a leader,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “He possesses unique scoring and playmaking abilities, and has displayed exceptional poise and maturity in how he approaches the game. He’s someone who, at 22 years of age, will be a central figure to this organization’s championship aspirations for many years to come.”

“I am incredibly grateful to the Celtics organization, and the city of Boston for this opportunity,” said Tatum. “I love this city, this organization, and the best fans in the NBA. I plan on being here for a very long time.”

More from the Globe: “Tatum’s extension includes about $163 million in guaranteed salary as well as escalator clauses that will vault the figure to about $195 million if Tatum meets incentives. Rookie extensions can be for up to 25 percent of the salary cap, but Tatum will be eligible for 30 percent if he receives All-NBA honors or is named defensive player of the year this season.”

A first-time NBA All-Star in 2019-20, Tatum, 22, produced a team-high 23.4 points on 45.0% shooting (40.3% 3-PT) in just his third NBA season. The St. Louis, MO native added 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.4 steals in 66 games (all starts) to become the first Celtics player to register 23.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in a single season since Paul Pierce in 2003.

Tatum’s All-Star season resulted in his selection to the 2019-20 All-NBA Third Team, making him the second Celtics player in franchise history to receive All-NBA honors prior to his 23rd birthday.

Originally drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Tatum has averaged 17.3 points (45.7% FG, 40.1% 3-PT, 82.9% FT), 6.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocked shots, and 31.8 minutes played in 225 career games (all starts) over three NBA seasons. The 22-year-old has improved his marks in scoring, rebounds, assists, and steals in each season since joining the professional ranks, and is the only player in NBA history to accumulate 3,900 points, 1,300 rebounds, and 400 3-point field goals through his first three seasons.

Heat eliminate Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals, advance to NBA Finals

Sunday night at the Disney NBA bubble in Florida, the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics 125-113, winning the Eastern Conference Finals in six games. The Heat advance to the NBA Finals, where they’ll face the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 of the Finals is Wednesday night on ABC TV.

Boston.com: The Celtics had a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, but Miami didn’t flinch. The Heat went on a 19-6 run to take a seven-point lead with just over four minutes remaining. They moved the ball with confidence and went back to their zone to reinvigorate themselves on the defensive end. Bam Adebayo led the way for Miami’s offense as it extended its lead to 12-points with three minutes left.

Boston.com:The Heat continued to ride that momentum, while Boston struggled to handle its opponent’s relentless energy. This series really came down to crunch-time execution, and that was the case again Sunday night. The Heat outscored the Celtics 35-17 over the final nine minutes of Game 6, leaving their final mark on the Eastern Conference Finals with authority.

Boston.com:The Celtics played great defense early in the fourth quarter, effectively slowing down the Heat, but their inability to close out games reared its head late. Miami exerted its dominance down the stretch as it did in all four of its Eastern Conference Finals wins, a fitting way to seal the deal in Game 6.

Boston Herald: “Though four Celtics scored at least 20 points, led by Jaylen Brown’s 26, they were unable to get the requisite stops. That especially was true where Adebayo and his rolls to the rim were concerned. The Celtics also missed a plethora of open shots down the stretch, with players like Gordon Hayward (5-for-12) and Kemba Walker (5-for-15) missing open layups. With the Celtics caught between his interior attack and the omnipresent threat of Miami’s shooters, the Heat put this one away with a 26-6 run in the fourth quarter that effectively squelched the Celtics’ season.

South Florida Sun Sentinel: “Sunday’s victory was powered by 32 points and 14 rebounds from Adebayo, as well as 22 points from Butler, 19 from Tyler Herro, 15 from Iguodala, 15 from Duncan Robinson and 13 from Goran Dragic. For the Celtics, there were 26 points from Jaylen Brown, 24 from Jayson Tatum, 20 from Marcus Smart and 20 from Kemba Walker.”

South Florida Sun Sentinel: “After going down six earlier in the fourth quarter, the Heat got a three-point play from Adebayo with 6:16 to play to go up 101-100. The counterpunching continued from there, with Celtics center Daniel Theis fouling out with 5:30 to play and the Heat then calling time out while up 104-102. A minute later, a Duncan Robinson 3-pointer put the Heat up 107-102. The Heat eventually made it a 26-6 run, for a 14-point lead. At one point, the Celtics went 3 1/2 minutes without a point. By then, it was time for the white flag from the Celtics.”