Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Jayson Tatum on his ejection: 'I just told him this was probably the best officiated game I've been a part of'

Jayson Tatum's night ended early before the Celtics 109-94 loss to the New York Knicks Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

Despite not shooting well for the third straight game since his MVP performance at this year's NBA All-Star Game, Tatum was ejected for the first time in his career during the final 3:46 of the tilt.  

Tatum had some words with the officials following a missed 3-pointer where he thought Julius Randle had made contact -- which led to him picking up his second tech and getting tossed.
"I mean, it's tough, right? The first one, no call. If you look, it was clearly a foul," Tatum explained. "And those are the ones that are tough. You get a tech for something that you were probably right about. The second one, I just told him, 'this was probably the best officiated game I've been a part of.' I tried to give him a compliment. Didn't go over so well."
The ejection was just the icing on the cake when it came to Tatum's horrible 6-of-18 shooting display, including 1-of-9 from deep to finish with just 14 points, despite grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out nine assists. It was the second time this season that the veteran forward scored less than 20 points in back-to-back games, when you look at his 18-point output against the Philadelphia 76ers -- where he hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left in the Celtics' 110-107 win this past Saturday night.
"It's a long season. Jayson's been playing, as we all know, at an MVP level for most of the season," Al Horford said during Monday's postgame presser. "I mean, if you can go all 82 playing like that, that's just tough. There’s gonna be ups and downs, and he's the last guy that I'm worried about. I know what he's about. My biggest thing with him is making sure that he feels right and that he's good to go in April once the playoffs start. So, I'm not worried about it. Through the season, you’re going to have an off game here and there, and that's just a part of it."
Over the last three games since the All-Star break, Tatum is averaging 21.0 points on 36.7% from the field and 24.1% from 3-point territory, to go along with 10.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists.

Against the 76ers the Celtics were able to withstand Tatum (3-of-8 from 3) struggling on offense as the team hit 13-of-28 from behind the 3-point arc, but without Jaylen Brown (personal reasons) in the lineup against the Knicks and Tatum still in a slump, Boston couldn't come up with the win

The Celtics had their worst shooting performance of the season from 3 after going a combined 9-of-42 (21.4%) from long distance Monday in New York.

Despite getting good looks, the long-ball was not falling for Boston and Tatum's ejection was just simply frustration reaching its limit when it came to the officiating on both ends.

With the Celtics back at TD Garden Wednesday, they'll look to get a victory when they host another one of the few teams that have beaten them multiple times this season in the Cleveland Cavaliers (39-25).

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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