Boston Celtics player Jason Tatum could have spent the moment

Boston Celtics player Jason Tatum could have spent the moment

BOSTON – With just over a minute left in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka took over the starting lineup. This meant that Jason Tatum had a moment to sit alone and feel the weight of the frustration of losing.

“It hurts,” Tatum said. “Being in this group, we bring to this point what we have managed throughout the season. It’s just short of knowing how badly we want it. It’s a terrible feeling. “

As he spoke, he lowered his head and looked at the table behind him.

A few minutes ago, Tatum had to put up with the humiliation of watching another team, Golden State, celebrate their championship at home. He politely congratulated his opponents, then left with a blank stare. Tatum did not react when a fan came down from the stands and took a handkerchief from his shoulder.

He was often not in the best position in the finals, defended by Andrew Wiggins from Golden State. In the match, Tatum scored a total of 13 points with 7 productive passes and 3 rebounds, and made 5 substitutions. He closed a difficult series in which he struggled to find an attacking rhythm. At 24, he is a key part of Boston’s young core, and that could be his moment.

On June 1, a day before the start of the final, Tatum told the media that he wanted to be honest.

“There were times when I asked if I was the right person to lead such a group,” he said. “You know, I never doubted myself, but a few minutes after those losses and the more difficult parts of the season. It is human nature to ask yourself questions.

He said it was important to “always be true to what you believe and trust in what you put in.”

Then he continued.

“You know, it can’t rain forever.”

The Celtics opened the season unequally, losing their first two games and 19 more in early January. They were 18-21 years old and were meant for an early off-season. But under Tatum’s leadership, things turned upside down. They rocked the second half of the season and had a second seed in the East.

It seemed like a tough test after the season, but Tatum’s Celtics, the league’s hottest team, could have done it. In the end, they did not get there.

“One of the things he always did throughout the season was to see a lot of different reports and understand that,” Udoka said. “It simply came to our notice then. It was rude. A very consistent team that does some things to limit it and pay others.

“For him, it continues to grow, and he understands that you will see it for the rest of your career. This is just the beginning. “

Tatum already has a remarkable summary. He has been an NBA All-Star for the last three seasons. This year, he was also named to the first team of the entire NBA.

He averaged 26.9 points per game in the regular season and made only 2.9 changes per game. His turnover figures were lower than most of the players who scored better than him.

When asked what the Celtics need to improve, Tatum said: “I think that in this series and in previous series, even myself, sometimes the level of our situation. To take care of the ball, things like that. ”

In general, the change of players in the final was a problem for the Celtics. Boston have lost the last three games of the series, making 15 painful appearances in Game 4, 18 more in Game 5 and 22 painful substitutions in Game 6. The Golden State also experienced its careless moments, but responded with enough restraint to recover.

“It’s easy to look back and see everything you can do better,” Tatum said. “It simply came to our notice then. I know this for sure. “

To emphasize Tatum’s crime, one would miss some contexts in a defensive series. Boston failed to score 100 points after Game 3. The Celtics scored 104.8 points per game for the Golden State, down from 111 points in the regular season.

Tatum was able to influence the game without scoring at the beginning of the series. The Celtics scored 120 points in the first game, which is the highest score in the final. Tatum added only 12 points. Golden State defenders tried to push Tatum into the basket or hit him from the sidelines, but he was worried. Instead, he started looking for teammates and made 13 productive passes.

But as the series progressed, Golden State began to take away other options and force Boston to make amends.

From Game 2 to Game 5, Tatum averaged 26 points per game, but struggled to make a significant impact, especially as the stakes increased.

It was a breakup in the playoffs. When the Celtics faced the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Tatum scored 46 points with 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He hit 53.1 percent from the field in that game.

It was a feat not to be able to approach Golden State. Even if Tatum was in his place during the final, there were times when he hesitated to fight and looked for teammates instead. He also struggled to finish outside.

“We could all do better,” Tatum said. “I think I could have done a lot better.”

Tatum suffered an injury to his right shoulder during the Eastern Conference final, but would not link his fight to that injury. He was asked if he needed surgery and said he did not think so.

Rather, Tatum, frustrated after coming so close to winning his first championship, only spoke about the need for improvement in general and how difficult the night was.

His teammates supported him.

“I just hugged him, man,” said Jaylen Brown of Boston. “I know the last game was difficult. I know, obviously, it was a game where we felt we could win.

His coach also had encouraging words.

“The growth he’s shown as a playmaker this year and in certain areas, I think that’s the next step for him,” Udoka said. “To understand that, to get to where some veterans are, they saw everything and took their pieces at the beginning of their careers.”

He added: “High IQ, a smart guy who will learn and understand from this. I think it will motivate him to move forward, it will definitely motivate him. “

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