How Jayson Tatum’s initial reaction to Finals loss sparked his mindset for this season
Tatum recalled his disappointment and sadness following the Celtics’ NBA Finals loss in an interview with ESPN.
Jayson Tatum didn’t take losing in the NBA Finals lightly.
The Celtics star disappointed in his first trip on the game’s biggest stage, struggling to score throughout the series as he scored 21.5 points per game on 36.7 percent shooting from the field en route to a six-game loss to the Warriors.
In an interview with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Tatum detailed how tough the first few days were for him following the Finals loss. He recalled how his mother, Brady Cole, and his then four-year-old son, Deuce, tried to support him over that weekend, with his mother cooking him food and his son looking to play with him as he moped.
“Deuce gave me a hug and told me he was proud of me. Then my mom gave me a hug, and I just broke down crying,” Tatum told Shelburne. “I felt like I let everybody down.
“I remember telling her just how tired I was and how hard it was, and I just kind of felt defeated.”
With the loss occurring on the Thursday prior to Father’s Day Sunday, Deuce apparently wouldn’t let his father continue to feel upset. Tatum’s son suggested they take a trip to the Cayman Islands on Father’s Day, according to Shelburne.
Tatum said that he “vividly” remembers two shots in particular of the 76 he missed in the Finals, which were the two airballs he shot in Game 5. As Tatum admitted that he was “just exhausted” in several facets, he believed one thing was the difference between the Celtics and Warriors.
“Talent-wise, we were right there with them,” Tatum told Shelburne. “But you could tell that they had been there before. You could tell they didn’t panic. They were just mentally tougher than we were, and that’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Now that he has Finals experience on his side, Tatum admitted that his mindset is different.
“I know what it takes now,” Tatum told Shelburne. “I know what it feels like. They let me get there, and now I know what more I got to do.”
Even though they’ve struggled in recent weeks, the Celtics and Tatum have still been among the best in basketball as Christmas Day approaches. Boston’s 22-10 record is the second-best in the league, trailing only Milwaukee by a half-game.
Tatum, meanwhile, is receiving a considerable amount of MVP buzz. He’s fifth in the league in scoring, averaging 30.6 points per game, and is sixth in the league in net rating (9.7).
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