Boston Celtics star forward Jayson Tatum was hard on himself following a Game 4 week loss against the Miami Heat as he underlined him scoring zero points in the first of the game was "unacceptable." Tatum, who has been leading the Celtics with 23.4 points per the game this season, went 0-for-6 from the field in Game 3 against the Heat.
In the second half, Tatum exploded for 28 points but it was late as the Heat won 112-109 to take a 3-1 lead over the Celtics in their Eastern Conference Finals series. "I wasn't aggressive enough," Tatum said, per ESPN.
"I didn't score in the first half. That's unacceptable. So I knew I had to play better, and that's what I tried to do." The Celtics didn't play their best basketball but were down only by six points at the halftime.
"No, I don't," Tatum said when asked if he had an explanation for what happened to Boston in the first half. "I wish I did. Simple answer is just we've got to be better. We know what's at stake, we know what's on the line, and we've got to play a complete game."
Tatum takes a 'lot of blame'
"It's win or go home time. I wish we would have played like that from the start. I take a lot of blame, you know, I didn't play like myself in the first half. So I've got to be better to start the game off on both ends," Tatum added.
Meanwhile, Celtics coach Brad Stevens refused to throw Tatum under the bus, suggesting everyone can have an off night. "It's basketball," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said when asked why Tatum's first half was so far off his usual standard.
"I don't want to oversimplify it, but we've all had nights where you don't feel like it's going for you. Then you go into the break -- or you've seen great players do that, at least -- where they go into the break and they can just reset, see one go through the net, and then they go.
"I think that's all Jayson needed to see. He was way more assertive, way more aggressive in the second half. But it was probably because he felt a lot better about it. He was, for whatever reason, I thought in the first half just struggling to find the net, and then it only takes a great player once or twice to get their confidence rolling."