Jayson Tatum was the only player on the Celtics who showed up for the entirety of Game 7. Yet, he only took one shot over the final six minutes of play. His curious lack of involvement down the stretch is the one legitimate second-guess against Brad Stevens entering the offseason.
The Celtics scored just 12 points in the third quarter and bricked almost every shot from three-point range. Despite all of that, they were leading the Cavaliers by one point with 6:04 remaining in regulation, thanks to Tatum. He was responsible for five straight points, dunking on LeBron James and nailing a three-pinter. At that point, he was the only real scoring option the floor for the Celtics. Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart went a combined 13-for-56 from the floor, including 5-for-32 from beyond the arc.
Even Al Horford, who finished the night with 17 points, was a non-factor down the stretch. Fourteen of his points came in the first half, and he missed a wide-open three late in regulation that would’ve tied up the game at 76.
Stevens is the king of calling plays out of the timeout and making defensive adjustments. But for some reason, he didn’t prioritize getting Tatum the ball when the clock was winding down. After the three-pointer, Tatum, who led the Celtics with 24 points, only attempted one shot the rest of the way: a missed layup with 1:52 to go.
Despite the loss, @jaytatum0 went out with a BANG! —
Much respect for the rook — pic.twitter.com/LE18AVruyD
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 28, 2018
Some of the blame lies on Tatum and his teammates, of course. Tatum should be confident enough to assert himself at the end of games. The other players on the Celtics should’ve recognized he was the only one who had anything going for him.
But Tatum didn’t take charge, and wasn’t fed the ball. At that point, it was Stevens’ responsible to corral his troops, and call out plays centered around his star rookie.
Stevens didn’t do it. As a result, Tatum was a bystander as the Celtics’ season slipped away with each missed basket.
Full article @ Brad Stevens faces legitimate second-guess over Jayson Tatum’s lack of involvement at end of Game 7
Source: GreenStreet Blog