Before the start of the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was considered a favorite to win NBA Finals MVP. But because of his personal shortcomings, his team is in danger of not making it to the Finals at all.
Tatum and the Celtics were riding high. After the Milwaukee Bucks were upset in the first round by the Miami Heat, Boston became the championship favorites. They got past the Hawks in six games, and took down what was thought to be the last remaining powerhouse in the 76ers in the second round. Tatum scored 51 points in the final contest, an NBA record for Game 7s.
Jayson Tatum Struggles In 4th Quarter In ECF
Jayson Tatum has made ZERO 4th quarter field goals in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals 😳
The Celtics have also fallen from -600 to win the series to +145 pic.twitter.com/T7ZBch1y8m
— ClutchPoints Betting (@CPBetting) May 20, 2023
They were heavily favored for the ECF. Depending on the outlet, Boston was listed at -500 to take down the Heat at the start of the series. Miami was projected as having a 3% chance of pulling off the upset.
But Jimmy Butler and the Heat have proved once again that odds and spreads mean nothing to them. Miami has overcome being 8+ point underdogs in each of the first two games, and have gone into Boston and stolen home court advantage. It took a double-digit comeback in Game 2 on Friday, but the Heat will take a commanding 2-0 lead and will play the next two games in their home arena.
One of the issues for the Celtics has been Tatum’s late-game performances. Boston held a 9-point lead at halftime in Game 1, but their superstar player went cold in the second half. Tatum made just two baskets in the 3rd quarter, and failed to attempt a shot entirely in the 4th quarter as the Heat ran away with the game.
Jayson Tatum in the 4th quarter this series:
0 field goals
5 turnovers pic.twitter.com/LfPrAZKJPU
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 20, 2023
Things didn’t get much better in Game 2. Surrendering yet another lead, Tatum went 0 for 3 in the final frame as Boston choked the game away. All of his shots were missed 3-pointers, all of which would have helped stop the bleeding that ultimately led to the loss.
Combining the two 4th quarter performances through the first two games, Jayson Tatum has not yet made a field goal in the final frame.
He’d better figure it out quickly. The Celtics have now flipped to being underdogs in the series, and will face a serious test as they try to overcome a 2-0 deficit on the road in Miami.
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