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Jayson Tatum thinks highly of Jayson Tatum.
The Boston Celtics superstar had a simple explanation for how he was able to recover after an awful first half on Thursday night.
“I’m, humbly, one of the best basketball players in the world,” he said after the game.
But Tatum certainly didn’t look like the best to start off Game 6.
The four-time All-Star missed 14 of his first 15 shots from the floor as the Celtics lost an early 16-point lead.
Luckily for Tatum, though, Marcus Smart stepped up — leading Boston in scoring with 22 points.
Finally, Tatum got a hot hand. He finished the game 5-for-21 with 19 points — far below his regular season average of 30.1.
“I got some great teammates that held it down,” Tatum said. “(Malcolm) Brogdon, JB (Jaylen Brown), (Marcus) Smart, Al (Horford), they all trust me. They all tell me, ‘Keep taking great looks, it’s gonna fall. Keep impacting the game in other ways.'”
Whatever their strategy, it worked. The Celtics won 95-86, forcing a Game 7 with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Twitter threw a lot of heat at Tatum for saying he was one of the best basketball players in the world. Some called his comments “cringe” while others say he hasn’t proven himself.
There was, of course, also the age-old argument that if you have to say you’re the best, then you probably aren’t.
But as, humbly, one of the worst basketball players in the world, I’m going to defend him.
Jayson Tatum finished fourth in MVP votes this season. By the very definition of league MVP, he’s one of the best.
And regardless of what people at home on the couch think of you, you don’t become an NBA star and an Olympic gold medalist by having low confidence.
Better win Game 7, though. Because the fans are bringing receipts.