‘Under-Appreciated’ Jayson Tatum Leads Celtics’ Scoring Attack


  • Tatum’s 33-13-6 performance led the Celtics to a crucial Game 3 victory on the road.
  • Mazzulla praises Tatum for diverse skills beyond scoring, calling him underappreciated.
  • Tatum’s shift to a more defensive role has been possible with Brown and White stepping up offensively.

With expectations continuing to go through the roof for the title-contending Boston Celtics, they needed an important victory on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the East Semis.

The Celtics answered the call, especially star forward Jayson Tatum. He had his best offensive performance in these playoffs, having been more focused more on the non-scoring aspects of the game, something that head coach Joe Mazzulla believes that he has been underappreciated for.

Tatum’s Big Night in Celtics Victory

Recorded His 25th 30-Point Playoff Game


Tatum finished with an amazing stat line of 33 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists on 11-of-25 shooting from the field. He played a monumental role in helping the Celtics pull off a 106-93 victory over the Cavaliers in Game 3 on the road and bounce back from an embarrassing 24-point loss in Game 2 at home.

“We just wanted to bounce back. Disappointing loss the other night, coming into a hostile environment on the road. It was a good test for us to see how we respond,” – Jayson Tatum

Not only was it his first 30-point performance of this year’s playoffs, it also marked the 25th time he recorded a 30-point game throughout his postseason career. According to StatMuse, he joined fellow Celtic legends John Havlicek and Larry Bird as the only players to achieve that feat.

His strong showing allowed his teammates to get going as well. Jaylen Brown turned in 28 points and nine rebounds on excellent 13-of-17 shooting from the field, Jrue Holiday had a balanced performance of 18 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists, and Derrick White put up 12 points as he made three shots from downtown.

“You gotta make it tough, and I thought we did that. [Brown and Tatum] hit some difficult shots. They went into iso and took midrange turnaround contested twos that our guys challenged them on. They make those because they are elite offensive players,” – Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff

Scoring Hasn’t Been Top Priority for Tatum

Mazzulla Described Him As Under-Appreciated Because of This

Joe Mazzulla Boston Celtics

Tatum in this year’s playoffs hasn’t been up to the usual expectations for the Celtics star.

Before Game 3, he was averaging 21.7 points per game, a 5.5-point dropoff from what he averaged in the 2023 playoffs. His shooting splits also went down, going from 45.8 percent overall last year to 40.7 percent this year as well as 32.3 percent from downtown last year to 26.8 percent at the moment.

Some of this is due to Jaylen Brown and Derrick White picking up the scoring for Boston, especially during their first-round matchup against Miami. Heading into Game 3, Brown has been leading the team in scoring this postseason with 23.6 points, and White was putting up 21 points on shooting splits of 54.1 percent overall and 45.3 percent from deep. Because of this, this has allowed Tatum to be more active defensively to disrupt his matchups more effectively.

Head coach Joe Mazzulla isn’t fazed by Tatum’s scoring struggles, either. During postgame following Game 3, he credited Tatum’s performance for being as good as he has been, feeling that he’s been taken for granted.

It’s clear that Mazzulla understands that Tatum’s responsibilities are much different from what they were last year when he had to shoulder more of the scoring duties. Now with multiple players who can explode at any given moment, this has paved the way for Tatum to contribute in other ways that don’t require him to score 30 or more points every game.


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