Jayson Tatum must learn to control his emotions for Celtics to soar

PJ Tucker’s pouting, unbridled body language as a rookie for the Raptors in 2006 was so bad that before cutting him, the front office gave him a look at a video about him before, during and after every game. Compilation of performance.

“It was horrible,” Tucker said on JJ Redick’s podcast. “To this day, it makes me sick.”

A similar mixtape might be just what Jayson Tatum needs to see.

It’s not a problem before or after the game. Tatum is calm, relaxed and helpful. The problem comes in the game, which is where the Celtics star should make the biggest leap as he matures.

Without getting a call, Tatum flapped his wings. He grabbed his forearm after the foul because everything was a foul. When certain games went south, he kept his head down and ignored the defense.

Those temporary turnovers are tolerable during the regular season, as the Celtics have been a buzzer-beater for the past three months. In the playoffs, however, they can swing right and left between wins and losses.

Tatum’s body language didn’t decide anything in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday. The Miami Heat, a physically stronger and stronger team, put willpower on the exhausted Celtics and beat them with a 39-14 third-quarter blitz for an easy victory.

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The Celtics returned to some bad habits, from lack of ball movement to poor rebounding to speeding up the game. They obviously missed veterans Marcus Smart and Al Horford, but there’s no reason to think they won’t bounce back with a more representative effort in Game 2 on Thursday, especially now that they know their what is the goal.

It’s still worth emphasizing that Tatum has not done himself or his team any favors by letting his emotions dictate his performance, especially when juxtaposed with the steely coolness of Heat superstar Jimmy Butler, a post The interviewer noted that he likes to meet people to see “who will quit first.”

After scoring 21 points with the Heat in the first half, Tatum hit a brick wall. The Heat put Tucker on his grill, fielding a second defender every time he crossed the halfcourt and sneaking into his passing lane like the Panthers. Tatum flipped six times in the third quarter, resulting in an easy transition barrel that ignited the crowd as part of an unfathomable 22-2 run.

Equally bad, his emotions blared like the late Craig Sager’s old suit, repeatedly throwing himself into the trio in vain, all the while sprawling around and letting himself out Contest. Butler eyed defenders patiently, then induced contact with his patented fake, while Tatum put the ball on the floor without a plan other than whining.

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“We were all in the referee’s dilemma in that quarter when they got back physically,” head coach Ime Udoka said. “Instead of trying to make the right play, kicking and kicking, getting to the rim, we were looking for fouls, That led to some mistakes.”

Tatum’s worst moment came when he was whistled for a loose ball foul that left Dwayne Dedmon on the floor with his head on his back. Tatum, clearly asking for a replay, swivels his fingers on the Celtics’ bench and takes a stroke. When the playback clearly showed him swiping across Adebayo’s face, his performance looked downright ridiculous.

Despite Tatum’s apparent greatness and promotion to the top NBA superstar, his reactions matter. His emotions are important.

This is the last area of ​​Tatum’s game to develop, and it will come. He was only 24 when Butler was still losing to the Wizards in the first round. Before Butler became the cold-blooded assassin, he clashed with multiple coaches, multiple teammates, and shot himself in Minnesota. Not even two months ago, he needed to be separated from calm head coach Eric Spoelstra in a loss to the Warriors. He also doesn’t always check his emotions.

The difference is that those outbreaks are now the exception. Despite Tatum’s apparent greatness and promotion to the top NBA superstar, his reactions matter. His emotions are important.

This is his Team, like the Heat belong to Butler. Tatum has proven time and again this season that he can step up, including a 46-point performance against the Bucks last week to avoid elimination. It should come as no surprise if he does it again on Thursday.

He can lead the Celtics to a title now, but he won’t wait for the referee to save him or watch in frustration as the miss goes the other way.

He’s still the best player in the series. The Nets can’t stop him, the Bucks can’t stop him, and the Heat can’t stop him, as long as he doesn’t go his own way and let his wonderful performance speak.

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