Celtics’ Jayson Tatum Offered Thoughtful Quote on His Scoring Woes During NBA Finals

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
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As arguably the single most scrutinized player in this year’s NBA Finals, Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum gave the media something extra to chew on after Game 2’s win over the Dallas Mavericks.

When the spotlight yet again turned on the All-NBA forward during Sunday’s 105-98 win, Tatum, who finished with 18 points on 6-for-22 shooting, chose to look past his scoring troubles and instead reflect on the importance of team victories.

“I’ve been here before, and I didn’t win,” Tatum said. “And it’s just like, we’re so close to what we’re trying to accomplish. Why would I let my ego or need to score a lot of points get in the way of that?”

Tatum continued, “There are going to be times when I need to score, and obviously I need to shoot better, golly. But we always talk about doing whatever it takes for however long it takes. If I need to have 16 potential assists every single night and that’s what puts us in the best position to win...by all means, sign me up.”

Two years prior, the Celtics held a 2-0 series lead over the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals. Tatum averaged 21.5 points and 7.0 assists in the six-game series, one which saw Boston ultimately fumble the championship.

After fending off a late Mavericks surge in Game 2, Tatum and the Celtics have once again found themselves holding a 2-0 advantage and a chance to clinch a historic 18th NBA title in franchise history. This Finals series, however, the 26-year-old Tatum is averaging just 17 points through two games and shooting 31.6% from the field. 

As the heat mounts on the Celtics to close out their championship run, Tatum’s critics may have to contend with the fact that the Boston star has grown into more of a playmaker role in the Finals and contributed to wins with his passing and defending. Tatum finished with a season-high 12 assists on Sunday and was one rebound away from a triple-double.


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Kristen Wong

KRISTEN WONG

Kristen Wong is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. She has been a sports journalist since 2020. Before joining SI, Kristen covered four NFL teams as an associate editor with the FanSided NFL Network and worked as a staff writer for the brand’s flagship site. She has written about soccer, the NFL, NBA, and MLB since 2020, and outside of work, has dreams of running her own sporty dive bar.