BROOKLYN - The Boston Celtics dropped their third game in a row on Monday night, falling 109-102 to the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics trailed by as many as 27 points in the fourth quarter, but were able to cut the deficit to single digits late in the game. Despite not being able to complete the full comeback, Jayson Tatum finished with 34 points on 12/19 shooting in 35 minutes. When asked if his first career 30-point performance meant anything to him, he said it no, because they didn’t come away with the win.
This loss comes after Kyrie Irving made some not-so-subtle public criticisms of Boston’s younger players following the team’s loss in Orlando on Saturday night. Tatum, the Celtics’ youngest player, was naturally asked about the comments on Monday night in Brooklyn, but seemed to be on Irving’s side.
“It’s not really directed towards anybody or calling guys out,” said Tatum. “He’s telling his truth. He knows what it takes to win a championship, and most of us don’t. Sometimes you have to be brutally honest in this profession to get the best out of one another. It comes from a good place. It’s not trying to bring anybody down.”
Irving spoke to the team after Monday night’s game, focusing on the positive side of things. The Celtics all-star point guard discussed Boston’s fourth quarter performance as something they should look to continue. Tatum touched on what Irving pointed out.
“If we played balls out the whole game, we’d be pretty tough to beat,” said Tatum when summarizing Irving’s postgame comments. “It’s tough being down 27 and trying to come back in a league where guys are just too good. It can happen, but it’s very rare. So we have to start out the gate like that and not dig a hole for ourselves.”
Boston will need to regroup quickly, as the East-leading Toronto Raptors come to TD Garden on Wednesday night. That game tips off at 8:00 PM EST.