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Jayson Tatum ‘expects’ to shoot better in Game 2, but won’t force shots


Tatum shot just 3 of 17 in Game 1.

Jayson Tatum shot poorly in Game 1 and doesn’t expect it to happen again in Game 2.

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

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

While Tatum certainly expects to shoot better in Sunday’s second game, he said he won’t go out of his way to try to score.

” I do not think so [I’ll try to force shots]”, Tatum told reporters during Saturday’s training. “I had more assists than points in the last game. So I feel like I played the right game more often than not. You know, it’s not overthinking. I feel like that’s a lot of shots, the open shots that I miss most often that I do.

“So it’s not something that keeps me awake. You know, we won. That was the most important, right? It’s the final. It’s all that matters. Obviously, I know I have to play better. I can’t shoot like this every game and I hope we win. I expect to play better in shooting, but to impact the game in different ways to do my part and win. I will continue to do so. Just read the game, read every game. That’s how I approach the next game.

Thursday’s game certainly wasn’t the first bad shooting night of Tatum’s five-year career. It wasn’t even his first bad playoff shooting night, either.

In Game 3 of the Celtics’ second-round series against the Bucks, Tatum shot 4 of 21 from the field (21.9%), scoring just 10 points in a 103-101 loss. In Game 3 of the Celtics’ Eastern Conference Finals series against the Heat, Tatum shot just 3 of 14, again scoring just 10 points in a 109–103 loss.

After each of those losses though, Tatum scored at least 30 points, making 45.8% of his shots in Game 4 against the Bucks and 50% of his shots in Game 4 against the Heat.

Tatum opened up about how he was able to have a good nights shooting in the playoffs after going bad a few days prior.

“Once you have already done something, you know how to react. I had bad nights shooting in the NBA. So it’s like I’ve been here before. I know what to do next game,” Tatum said. “I think a lot of it is mental. You don’t let it creep into your mind. I can’t do anything about what happened in the last game. I missed those shots and that’s how it is. It’s about knowing how to prepare and prepare for the next one.

“It wasn’t so much about me and what I had to do. It’s about what we need to do and how we need to prepare, what adjustments they’re going to make and how they’re going to react. We have to be ready and not relax just because we are 1-0 down. »

Warriors star forward Draymond Green shared on his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” that part of Golden State’s strategy was to get the ball out of Tatum’s hands.

Tatum wasn’t sure the Warriors were “actively” trying to make him a passer, but he said he got used to finding other ways to help the Celtics score.

“I’m sure they don’t want me to play one-on-one and things like that. Show a crowd, bring help and things like that,” Tatum said.

“I feel like I’ve had a lot of open eyes just because of the sending offs and things like that. But I’m sure it’s part of the game plan, to make me a playmaker and not to leaving comfortable is just something that I feel like every team has done more or less throughout the playoffs, so it’s not necessarily something new.

Heading into the 40-point fourth quarter, the Warriors found success in this strategy. In the third, the Celtics scored 24 points on 7-of-19 shooting with five turnovers. Tatum also had a tough time that term. He scored four points on 1-of-6 shooting with two assists for two turnovers, which were his only turnovers of the game.

The poor third quarter put the Celtics down 12 points going into the fourth and while it didn’t make a difference in Game 1, Tatum is aware he could do so later in the game. series.

“I say it all the time, we just need to be more aware. It’s one thing to talk about it, but we have to go out there and do it and not fight our way into the third quarter like we often do,” Tatum said.

“Yeah, I think we just can’t work our way into the third quarter and wait to warm up and wait until we’ve lost X points to be like, Oh, (expletive), we gotta do it. figure it out and start playing faster and things like that. We need to be more aware of that to start the third quarter.

Tatum and the Celtics have the opportunity to go up 2-0 in the series on Sunday before the Finals move to Boston for Games 3 and 4.


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