Jayson Tatum on Celtics' early-season struggles: ‘Maybe we believed the hype too much'


A three-game winning streak doesn't mean the Celtics' early-season malaise is over, but 13-10, with the lowly Knicks coming to the Garden Thursday night, is a lot better than the way the visitors from New York left the C's on their last visit to Boston, 9-9 after falling behind by 26 in yet another surprising loss.

Jayson Tatum was asked by MassLive.com on Tuesday what led to the slow start (about 3:20 into the video). His response? After a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics believed their preseason hype too much now that the team was fully healthy.

“There’s a lot of different reasons, Tatum said. "Maybe we believed the hype too much and we didn’t come out and perform. There’s a big target on our back. Teams are coming after us and maybe we didn’t understand that fully. Nothing we can do about the past, just focus on each game.”

Irving told MassLive.com (about 1:30 into the video) on Wednesday that it comes down to buying into the team concept "instead of responding selfishly."

“I think just guys being in their specific roles,” Irving said. “[Coach] Brad [Stevens] being more definitive in what he wants and us responding the right way and not necessarily doing it selfishly. Coach says something, he wants something done, he thinks this is best for the team — instead of responding selfishly and thinking about yourself, you think about what’s best for the team. I think over the last few games we’ve just been having a lot more fun doing so, and playing the right way. Playing at a high level, it should be fun. It should be fun getting up and down, getting stops, cheering for your teammates. Basketball should be fun. I think initially when we first started, everyone was in their own heads and emotionally you can be all over the place. You bring that emotion to your teammates and it’s just not a good recipe.”

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