In the second half of Game 2 between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets, Jayson Tatum left the floor immediately after being poked in the eye by Kevin Durant (with no foul called, might I add). He tried to return, but had a tough time adjusting to the lights. Although there was plenty of speculation about his status for Game 3, Celtics General Manager has additional insight before media availability later on today:
Danny Ainge on @Toucherandrich says Jayson Tatum should be good for Game 3: “I think he’s going to be fine … he’s doing much better.”— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) May 27, 2021
So, there you have it. He’s probably not missing Game 3, and I’d be willing to bet that he’s definitely not missing the rest of the series. This is good news for Boston because the series hasn’t been competitive for the last six quarters. After Tatum got off to a great start in the first half of Game 1, he’s struggled since, shooting below what we’ve come to expect from the All-NBA-caliber forward.
Boston needs to bottle the ball movement (of which Tatum was a major part) from the first half of Game 1 and continue with that game plan. It’s true, the Nets are more talented, but we’ve seen Tatum play at a level where he can be one of, if not the best players on a floor that also is holding James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant.
Tatum could also use some consistent help. Marcus Smart has been the team’s best offensive player so far this series (aided by a second-half stretch in Game 2 when he went nuclear for a few moments, trading buckets with Kyrie Irving). Evan Fournier had a better Game 2, but he and Kemba Walker need to do a significantly better and more consistent job if the Celtics want to grab a game or two to avoid a sweep/gentleman’s sweep.
The Boston Celtics take on the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Friday at 8:30 PM EST on ABC.