NBA

Jayson Tatum not taking NBA Finals for granted: ‘You don’t always get a second chance’

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Jayson Tatum firmly believes that the Celtics are currently using the lessons learned from last year’s conference finals loss to the Heat, as well as the 2022 NBA Finals’ defeat, to make an even stronger case to conquer the upcoming Larry O’Brien trophy. 

The Boston forward has been keeping up his scoring numbers from regular season (26.9) into the playoffs with 26 per match, just as his rebounding has improved from 8.1 to 10.4 per game. The same can be said for his co-star Jaylen Brown, who has increased both categories this postseason, going from 23 points to 25 in points, and 5.5 to 6.1 in rebounds.

“Obviously, we’ve been there before, we came up short,” the 26-year-old said. “You don’t always get a second chance, so really just looking at it as a second chance and trying to simplify things as much as we can.”

One of the biggest stories behind the Celtics’ success has been the incredible chemistry between the players, as they have all been each other’s cheerleaders throughout the season.

Back when Brown dropped in a game-tying shot from beyond the arc in Game 1 of their matchup against the Pacers, sending the contest to overtime in what became a Boston victory, JT gave the ultimate praise for his teammate. “Big time players make big time plays,” he said of Jaylen.

This has been an emotional campaign for the point guard, who has had to deal with high expectations throughout the season. For example, he started out the season with the highest-paid contract in the NBA, and then was recently snubbed on both the All-NBA or All-Defensive teams.

The player has decided not to pay too much attention to this. “As time has gone by and I got to this point, I stopped caring,” Brown expressed. “I don’t care who sees what, as long as my city knows my value, my team knows my value, my family — that’s all I really care about.”

Coach Joe Mazzulla talked about the chemistry between Brown, Tatum and how different they are at the same time

Even though the Boston co-stars seem so unbelievably comfortable and in tune on the NBA courts, their coach Joe Mazzulla revealed that they are actually very different people and players, but are able to play off each other when sharing the floor.

“They’re, like, two completely different people. They’re two completely different players,” said the Celtics tactician. “They’re great teammates, they love each other and they go about winning and they go about their process in a different way. Why they have to always be lumped together I think is unfair.”

Brown, Tatum and Al Horford are the only returning starters from that 2021/22 squad that fell against Golden State in six games of that season’s NBA Finals. Mazzulla said that they’ve learned a lot together, and know how to push each other to become better.

“At the end of the day, like, those two guys, their relationship is their relationship,” Joe explained. “They love each other. They push each other every single day in practice. They communicate with each other, but they go about it differently. And, I think they both get it unfair being compared to each other. They’re different.”