When Jayson Tatum was asked about what he saw on film following Boston’s 119-112 loss Friday night, he quipped, “a lot of missed shots.”
Especially those that left his hands.
Tatum had five points on a woeful 2-for-18 shooting performance which stands one of his worst shooting performances this season.
On November 11 of last year, Tatum missed 17 of 18 shot attempts against Dallas and like Friday’s game against Milwaukee, he finished with a season-low five points.
The Celtics wound up beating the Mavericks 116-106 which is why the sting of Friday’s 119-112 loss to the Bucks was the kind of game Tatum is eager to move on from as soon as possible.
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He’ll get his wish when the Celtics take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday afternoon.
“We play every other day so you always have a chance to bounce back and forget about the last game,” Tatum said.
Having that mindset bodes well for Tatum going forward, especially when you consider the amount of attention he is getting and will continue to receive during his ascension as one of the NBA’s top players.
Tatum came into the NBA’s restart as one of the league’s hottest players.
Since the All-Star break, only Washington’s Bradley Beal (36.5 points per game) and the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (30.0 points per game) had a higher scoring average than Tatum (29.9).
Playing at such a high level thrust Tatum’s name into the conversation about the best of the best in the NBA, players who on a night-in, night-out basis draw considerable praise and attention from fans and opponents.
But it is performances like the one we saw on Friday from Tatum that raises some questions as to whether it might be premature to put the 22-year-old Tatum among the game’s elite right now.
“I don’t really let things like that affect me,” Tatum said of his struggles against the Bucks. “I try not to pay too much attention to it, especially if I’m playing bad or even when I’m playing good. You have nights like that, you have good nights. Always, on to the next one.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens isn’t the least bit worried about Tatum’s rough night, either.
“Some nights are just not your night,” Stevens said. “He’s an unreal basketball player. That doesn’t mean every day the ball will go in at sixty percent. So, at the end of the day, he’ll … learn what he needs to do and try to do it better next time."
Stevens added, “One of the things I think all of these guys that are great understand is, not every day is your day. Sometimes you have to be able to learn, laugh it off and move on.”