Jayson Tatum Had Deep Message About Toughness After Celtics Eliminated Heat

May 1, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) celebrates a three
May 1, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) celebrates a three / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

After ending the Miami Heat's season with a 118-84 victory in Game 5 at TD Garden on Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics are on to the second round where they'll face the winner of the first round series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic.

The ultimate outcome of Boston moving on to the second round past the shorthanded Heat was expected, but after the Celtics lost Game 2 of the series in stunning fashion, critics bashed the toughness of this Celtics' core, led by stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Why did the Celtics lose to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals? Fans and media critics pointed to Boston's lack of toughness.

Why did the Celtics lose to the Miami Heat in seven games in the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals? Fans and media critics once again pointed to Boston's lack of toughness.

So with fans and media questioning Boston's toughness earlier in the series, did it get to Tatum at all? Don't count on it.

"No, I think [in] the world we live in, it's gotta be something wrong with every team," Tatum told the media Wednesday night. "That's what they like to say. You can see how talented we are. I think it's lazy, or easy, to say that teams can out-tough us, right? I never understood that. What's the definition of tough? Having louder guys on your team? That s--- don't make you tough. Everybody has their own definition of what toughness is. It's playing the right way, showing up every day to do your job without complaining. I think that's being tough."

Whether Tatum likes it or not, the Celtics have had their fair share of head-scratching losses with their young superstar core over the past few postseasons, and in many cases, those losses have kept Boston from reaching its ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship.

The Celtics are hoping to break that trend with a title later this summer.


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Mike McDaniel

MIKE MCDANIEL

Mike McDaniel is a writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated, where he has worked since January 2022. His work has been featured at InsideTheACC.com, SB Nation, FanSided, and more. Mike hosts the Hokie Hangover Podcast, covering Virginia Tech athletics, as well as Basketball Conference: The ACC Football Podcast. Outside of his professional life, he is a husband, father, and an avid golfer.