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Those who tuned in to watch Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics watched an intense matchup that see-sawed back and forth for most of the game and well into the fourth quarter.
With about seven minutes left to play in the game, the home favorite Celtics seemed to have all the momentum. They’d quickly built up a small lead on back-to-back Warriors turnovers, but things quickly fell apart. Steph Curry turned up the heat, while the Celtics’ offense turned ice cold.
Warriors went on a 10-0 run and never looked back. With the 107-97 win, they tied the series 2-2 and head back to San Francisco — a cross-country trip that opponent Jayson Tatum is not looking forward to.
“It’s a new series, best of 3,” Tatum said in a post-game press conference after the loss. “Get some sleep, and get on this long-a** flight tomorrow.”
CELTICS BLOCK WARRIORS’ THIRD-QUARTER SURGE TO WIN GAME 3, 116-100; BOSTON UP 2-1 IN FINALS
He might want to use the time in the air to make some adjustments to his mental game. Though he had some big moments in Game 4, he disappeared when it counted most. He went just 1-5 in the fourth quarter and averages just 33.4% from the field overall during the series.
“We don’t do this sh*t on purpose,” Tatum said, “I promise you we don’t. We try as hard as we can, but there are certain things we got to clean up. Obviously turnovers, movement on the offensive end. Would we have liked to have won today and be up 3-1? That would have been best-case scenario.
“I just got to be better,” Tatum said. “I know I can be better, so it’s not like I, myself or my team is asking me to do something I’m not capable of. They know the level and I know the level that I can play at.”
He wasn’t the only person critical of his performance. Former Celtics star Kendrick Perkins chimed in as well.
“What I saw today was that the best player on one team was ready for the occasion and rose the occasion, and I’ve been waiting for the best player on our team — the Celtics — to rise to the occasion,” Perkins said. “Where the hell is Jayson Tatum at the moment. Like, real talk. Where is Jayson Tatum? And I’m not talking about 25 points on 22 shots or going 8 for 23 tonight. When is he going to arrive in the Finals and have that big moment. You’re a first-team all-NBA guy — show it!”
Still, Tatum’s teammates have his back.
“We are all telling him, ‘We trust you and we believe in you,'” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. “Jayson has to figure it out. He will.”
Tatum, Smart and the rest of the Celtics have just a couple days “to figure it out.” Game 5 tips off in the Bay Area Monday at 9 pm ET.
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