Jayson Tatum calls his Game 3 performance ‘unacceptable’

BOSTON — Jayson Tatum hasn’t had many bad nights this postseason. But when the Celtics’ star is off, he’s Really off.

Tatum was nowhere near a superstar on Saturday night at TD Garden, shooting just 3-for-14 and scoring just 10 points in Boston’s 109-103 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Finals. the Eastern Conference.

While the Heat hit just about everything to start the game, Tatum couldn’t get anything to work. He missed both of his shots in the first quarter and laid a goose egg for the frame as Miami took a 39-18 lead.

It didn’t get much better overnight. Tatum scored eight points in the second quarter but did not convert a shot from the floor in the second half. He was 1-for-7 from downtown and had six turnovers in the Celtics’ loss.

He was not very satisfied with his performance after the loss.

“Six turnovers, no field goals in the second half, that’s unacceptable. I have to play better,” Tatum said. “I feel like I left the guys hanging tonight and that’s up to me. I admit it; it was tough.”

Jaylen Brown scored 40 points, but the Celtics turned the ball over 24 times, including 19 Heat steals, and never matched Miami’s intensity. Tatum said half of Boston’s turnovers were caused by the Miami defense, while the other half were “careless” turnovers by the Celtics.

Tatum briefly left the game in the fourth quarter when he was injured while committing one of his six turnovers. He collapsed after Víctor Oladipo stripped him naked, suffering a puncture on the play.

“My neck got caught in a weird position. I fell down and felt some pain and discomfort in my neck and arm,” he explained. “I had it checked out and started to get some sensitivity back. The doctors ran some tests and decided to give it a try.”

Tatum didn’t do much the rest of the way after re-entering the game with 3:40 remaining. He took no shots and committed his sixth and final turnover of the night with just over a minute left and the Celtics down by six.

It was a huge missed opportunity for the Celtics, who were able to cut Miami’s lead to just one in the fourth quarter. The Heat played without star Jimmy Butler in the second half, leaving the door open for a Boston comeback. The Celtics, though, never really opened that door all the way, and a lot of it has to do with Tatum struggling through his 41 minutes on the court.

It promises to be better in the future, and there is reason to believe that it will. Tatum also had a poor series in the final Game 3 against Milwaukee, when he scored just 10 points on 4-of-19 shooting. He responded with a 30-point performance in the Game 4 win over the Bucks, and he averaged 33.3 points on 48 percent shooting the rest of the way against Milwaukee.

He promises another change for Boston in Game 4 on Monday night.

“I just have to play better. Simple as that,” he said. “This time of the season everything is on the line, I just have to play better.”

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