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“I’d Be Scared To Death”: Jayson Tatum’s Poor Shooting Numbers Had Kevin McHale Reminiscing Over The ‘Old’ Tatum

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

"I'd Be Scared To Death": Jayson Tatum's Poor Shooting Numbers Had Kevin McHale Reminiscing Over The 'Old' Tatum

After years of playoff heartbreak, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown overcame their demons and ended the Boston Celtics’ 16-year wait for an NBA title. While the duo played exceptionally well during the playoffs, their unselfishness stood out above all else. Celtics icon Kevin McHale lauded them for not letting their desire to stand out take over, instead sticking to the game plan, and playing with a team-first attitude.

The three-time champion was particularly proud of Tatum’s maturity during the Finals. During an appearance on SiriusXM Radio, the Hall of Famer noted that the forward did not let his poor shooting numbers affect his mindset and praised him for refraining from forcing the issue on the offensive end. He said,

“A couple of years ago, if Tatum had that type of shooting night, I’d be scared to death. He’d try to bust seams at the elbow, turn a dribble into two guys, turning the ball over at the top of the key, at the elbow and try to force stuff. [But] he just made passes and I was like, ‘Wow! Alright!’ So you are playing [to] the flow of the game. You are not playing for the numbers… The flow of the game dictates where the ball rolls.”

McHale added neither Tatum nor Brown went out of their way to boost their stats and only looked to execute the game plan, even if it meant they did not get the opportunity to score or assist.

As the Hall of Famer pointed out, neither player posted groundbreaking numbers in the Finals. Tatum averaged 22.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.2 assists, while Brown, who was named Finals MVP, put up 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and five assists per game.

However, their willingness to take a backseat and let the other shine when they had a good start was critical to the Celtics’ success.

Their selflessness during the Celtics’ playoff run shut down suggestions that they clamored for credit, and teammate Derrick White made sure he pointed it out.

Derrick White sings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s praises

During his appearance on SiriusXM Radio, the veteran guard detailed the close bond Tatum and Brown share and downplayed the idea that they would value their interests over the team’s success. He said,

“Everybody wants to talk about a certain narrative or whatever it might be for a story, but they just wanna win and they are gonna do what they need to do on both sides of the floor to help us win games… They are both incredibly talented. They work so hard and they are really good teammates. They care for one another on and off the court.”

White’s words ring true, especially after the duo’s stellar display in the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. The Celtics have had the talent to be champions for some time now. However, Tatum and Brown’s sacrifice is what enabled them to reach their potential. Now, the only question is, can they do it again next season?

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar


Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

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