Last Thursday evening, the Celtics were able to defeat the Hawks in a thrilling game six. The Celtics received 30 points from Jayson Tatum, 14 from Brown, and 7 from Brown. Why would the subject of Jayson Tatum’s safety even come up, just based on the box score from Thursday?
The Celtics won game six with Jayson Tatum’s 30 points and Brown’s 32 points.
Tatum’s Wrist Injury
Tatum is known for his lackluster effort in the Warriors’ six-game elimination of him in last year’s Finals. In that series, they were up 2-0 after the first two games. Tatum averaged 21.5 points, a season in which he averaged 27 points.
The last four games of the Hawks-Celtics series saw Tatum shooting 29.5% from 3. Is this just a slump, or could it potentially be something larger? Tatum shot 35% from 3-point range during the regular season, and continued his hot hand into the first two games of the series. His combined shooting in the first two games from 3 equaled to an even 50%.
After the 2022 playoff run, Jayson Tatum revealed that he had a “small non-displaced” in his wrist which, even minor, caused him pain through the intensity and physicality of the playoffs.
[Related: Jayson Tatum was Even More Injured in 2022 Postseason Than Previously Known]
Could Tatum’s poor shooting statistics be the result of the wear and tear of an NBA season? The statistics point to that conclusion.
Tatum’s Decrease in Points and Percentages
The majority of analysts projected that Boston will defeat Atlanta in a sweep or gentleman’s sweep. However, after a six-game series with the 7-seeded Hawks, Tatum’s injury might be of concern for Boston in a deep playoff run.
Jayson Tatum claimed that the worst his injury in the 2022 postseason felt was against Milwaukee, during a block attempt by Giannis Antetokounmpo. Tatum had a first-round average of 29.5 on 45.6% overall, 42% from 3. The next series against Milwaukee saw a slight decrease in PPG at 27.6 on 42.9% and 37% from 3. Tatum averaged 25 points per game and shot 35% from beyond the arc against Miami. Finally, against the Warriors, Tatum shot his lowest out of all series at 21.5 points on 36.7% overall shooting.
Jayson Tatum participated in 100 games with the Celtics in 2021–2022. If the Celtics are to see a deep playoff run, a decline in Tatum’s points and shooting percentage could possibly be observed again, and may cost them another championship-less playoff run. So, should Jayson Tatum concern the Celtics?
The Celtics start their second-round series against their Atlantic division rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night at 7:30 PM EST in Boston.
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(Featured image credited to Boston Celtics/Twitter)