After setting the NBA record for points in a Game 7 with 51 as the Boston Celtics topped the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, Jayson Tatum came up short in crucial moments in Game 1 of the Conference Finals the East against the Miami Heat.
Tatum didn’t take a shot in the fourth quarter and committed three turnovers in a four-possession stretch en route to a 123-116 loss for the Celtics on Wednesday.
Tatum scored 30 points on an efficient 9-for-17 shooting from the field while grabbing seven rebounds and a block, but his offensive struggles at quarterback overshadowed his early success, especially with Boston giving up a . 13 points.
FOX Sports’ Skip Bayless was among those baffled by Tatum’s latest playoff performance, leading him to question whether Tatum is really a superstar.
“You’ve elevated him to the highest pedestal,” Bayless told “Undisputed” co-host Shannon Sharpe on Thursday. “He was first team All-NBA. You called him a superstar. I keep saying, ‘I’m trying, but I can’t get there’ because, especially through the playoffs, it’s been a wild roller coaster. of a great game, sorry, great game, ‘Right?’ [game], a great game and a ‘Where did you go? What happened to you?’ [game].”
Jimmy Butler leads Heat 123-116 in Game 1 win over Celtics
Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat upset the Celtics in Boston in Game 1, 123-116. Shannon Sharpe explains why the Celtics lost Game 1.
As Bayless mentioned, Tatum has had some performances throughout his playoff career. Right in the Eastern Conference semifinal against the 76ers, Tatum had several head-turning performances. In the first half of Game 4, Tatum scored three points on 1-for-9 shooting before finishing with 24 points, 18 rebounds, six assists and four blocks in an eventual loss for the Celtics.
Tatum also got off to a slow start in Game 5. He missed his first six shots of that game before scoring 36 points on 11-of-27 shooting in another Celtics loss. Game 6 was Tatum’s worst start to date, shooting 1-for-14 from the field over the first three-plus quarters before hitting four 3-pointers in the final minutes to keep the Celtics’ season alive and force a Game 7.
Bayless isn’t sure if the blame should necessarily fall on Tatum for missing a shot in the fourth quarter of Game 1, believing some blame could lie with Celtics point guard Marcus Smart and coach Joe Mazzulla. But the one thing he does know is that “the best player on what many consider the best team” didn’t show up in the fourth quarter as a “prohibitive favorite” against the eighth-seeded Heat.
“I don’t get it,” Bayless said of Tatum’s up-and-down play. “He’s almost like a Kevin Durant-like figure where we see all the talent, we see all the explosiveness. We saw it in Game 7 against Philly. We saw it at the end of Game 6 in Philly. We see him explode. It’s been so long in 6-foot-8 that when he extends to the basket, it’s almost like his arms can extend another extra foot, like they’re extended arms. I’ve never seen anything like that.
“But he can be as cold as anybody in the league. What happened in the playoffs last year? He led all playoffs with 100 turnovers. He seemed to clean up some of his act this year in those playoffs down the home stretch from last night’s game Not only did he not make a shot in the fourth quarter, but with less than three minutes left, he also had three turnovers.
Tatum will look to get back on track when the Celtics take on the Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night in Boston.
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