Over the last few seasons, Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics were unable to get past the final hump in their campaign to compete for an NBA Championship. Time after time, they were being eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals.
As a result, many started to believe that the Celtics' management needed to make the tough decision of splitting their core duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Many believed that if the Celtics failed to make it to the NBA Finals this season, then the franchise might have traded one of its stars in the offseason.
Fortunately, the Celtics didn't have to make that tough call as they won the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. While the entire team played well, it was Jayson Tatum who was the primary reason for the Celtics qualifying for the NBA Finals.
Evidently, fans expect the same level of performance from Tatum in the finals as well. Unfortunately, in Game 1 of the series, Tatum failed to perform at that level. He scored just 12 points while being on the court for 42 minutes. On a positive note, he had 13 assists to his name and helped the team win the game.
After the game was over, Tatum was asked about his thoughts on his teammates playing really well and how his shooting slump impacted him.
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"40 points in the fourth quarter. JB played big, Al, Pritchard, D White, You know those guys made big shots, timely shots as well and we won. I had a bad shooting night. I just tried to impact the game in other ways, winning the championship, we are in the finals. All I was worried about was trying to get a win and we did and that’s all that matters at this point."
At the end of the day, winning is more important than any individual stats and it is great to see that Tatum understands that.
This type of attitude is very important if a player is considered the leader of a team. Tatum is someone who is expected to fill that role, and he is certainly doing so until now in the 2022 Playoffs.
But if the Celtics want to make sure they win the finals, Tatum needs to elevate his game and at least contribute around 25 points per game.