Jayson Tatum gets real on shooting slump, Celtics' approach after 2-0 NBA Finals lead vs Mavericks

Published June 11, 2024, 11:55 AMPao Ambat

Jayson Tatum is averaging just 17 points while committing 4.5 turnovers through the first two games of the Finals, but found other ways to be effective.

A younger Jayson Tatum would’ve let his shooting struggles bother him so much that it negatively impacted other parts of his game.

But not today’s Jayson Tatum.

Tatum’s mind is fixated on what matters – winning a championship.

“I’ve been here before, and I didn’t win 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 said after the Celtics’ 105-98 Game 2 win that put the Eastern Conference champions up 2-0 in the NBA Finals.

There's no denying that Tatum's shot has been off through the first two games of the NBA Finals, hitting just four of his 14 three-point attempts, and only 12 of his 38 shots overall. 


 In Game 2, the 26-year-old shot just six of 22, including one of seven from the arc. However, he compensated with a near triple-double effort of 18 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds. He never stopped to attack, drew multiple double teams, and fired passes to open teammates.


“Every time I’d take a couple dribbles, there was, like, three people right there,” said Tatum.

“So we got a bunch of shooters on our team and guys that can space the floor. They kept leaving Jrue open. So it wasn’t like I had to do anything spectacular. It was just about finding the open guy.”

It shows another level of maturity from the 26-year-old, who in past years likely would have been forcing more shots against the sea of Dallas defenders.

But that is not who Tatum is anymore.

Losing in the NBA Finals two years ago against the Golden State Warriors played a major role in Tatum's evolution as an all-around player.


And he has no plans of changing his approach if it means finally hanging banner no. 18 in the T.D Garden when things are all said and done.

“There are going to be times when I need to score, and obviously I need to shoot better, 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.”

Game 3 of the Dallas-Boston championship series on Thursday, June 13, 8:30 a.m. (PH time). This will be aired LIVE on One Sports, NBA TV Philippines, RPTV, and the Pilipinas Live app.