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Jayson Tatum’s Critical Two-way Impact against the Brooklyn Nets


The Boston Celtics topped the Brooklyn Nets by a score of 109-103 and took a 3-0 in this NBA playoff series. Boston’s lockdown defense on Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum’s superstar level play headlined last night’s contest. Tatum racked up 39 points (on 58.4 true shooting percentage), 6 assists, and 6 steals attached with stellar defense. He dominated the game with his crafty three-level scoring, improved playmaking, and pesky defense. Tatum guarded Durant throughout most of the game and did a masterful job. He gave Durant hardly any breathing room, closed out well, sealed off driving lanes, and forced turnovers. Tatum guarded Durant for 8 minutes and 22 seconds. Durant only scored 2 points on 0-2 shooting from the field and committed 3 turnovers during that time. 

First Quarter

Jayson Tatum got going with a textbook catch-and-shoot corner three off of Marcus Smart’s pass. Brooklyn was in a 1-2-2 zone defense with Curry defending Tatum on the wing and Durant defending Horford on the baseline. Horford ventures to the elbow in an attempt to set a zipper screen for Tatum. But Curry’s poor defense led to Tatum being uncontested in the corner, so the potential Horford screen was pointless. Durant was forced to pick up Tatum on the corner, but it was no use as the Celtics star drained the triple. 

This possession puts Jayson Tatum’s valuable two-way presence on full display. Tatum was tightly defending Durant near the right baseline. Bruce Brown threw Durant an entry pass, but Tatum cleverly anticipated that. So, Tatum deflected Brown’s pass from behind and the ball ended up in the hands of Marcus Smart. Then, Smart swung it to Tatum who stepped into a made uncontested three due to Drummond’s poor rotation and awareness. 

Tatum possessed the ball on the right wing in triple threat position with Bruce Brown closely defending him. Andre Drummond sagged around the baseline because he was prepared for Tatum potentially driving to the rim. However, that gave Daniel Theis a free trip to the rim. With his gravity, Tatum detected Theis cutting to the basket and hit him with a clever bounce pass for the one-handed jam. Tatum is significantly improving at using his gravity to create shots for his teammates. 

Brooklyn was in a 2-3 zone with Nic Claxton aggressively defending Jayson Tatum. Tatum impressively burnt Claxton and got to his sweet spot near the lower baseline. Bruce Brown had to pick up Tatum due to the latter’s crafty shot creation. But it was no use as Tatum netted a fall-away jumper in the face of Brown as the shot clock expired. 

Second Quarter 

Bruce Brown attempted to slash into the painted area, but Grant Williams impressively cut off his driving lane. Brown was forced to swing the ball to Kevin Durant well above the perimeter with the shot clock quickly running out. Jayson Tatum stuck to Durant like glue and gave him no space to operate in the mid-range. Durant settled for a contested baseline jumper, but Tatum had great body positioning and forced an offensive foul on Durant. 

Seth Curry tightly picked up Derrick White near Brooklyn’s half court logo. Then, Bruce Brown helped Curry and trapped White mid-court in an attempt to force a turnover. Tatum flew up to half-court and tried to set a zipper screen in order to free up White. White then used his gravity to pass it to Tatum in the short roll. Tatum drove to the basket and Drummond gravitated towards him to counter his dribble drive. However, that left Robert Williams uncontested in the restricted area. Tatum once again used his gravity to set Williams up for the effortless dunk. 

Kyrie Irving tried to pass to Nic Claxton who was cutting to the basket in the midst of Brooklyn’s inbounds play. However, Tatum read the passing lane and intercepted Irving’s pass. Then he dished the ball to Jaylen Brown who split through Brooklyn’s defense for the fast-break layup. 

Grant Williams played marvelous point-of-attack defense on Kyrie Irving as he didn’t bite on Irving’s dribble moves. Kyrie swung it to Kevin Durant, who then attempted a catch-and-shoot three. He misfired thanks to an excellent closeout from Jayson Tatum. 

Third Quarter

Patty Mills threw an entry pass to Kevin Durant near the post, but Jayson Tatum once again read the passing lane. Tatum deflected Mills’ pass and Al Horford recovered the ball. Horford dished it to a cutting Tatum for the slam on the 2-1 fast-break. 

Jayson Tatum set an on-ball screen for Marcus Smart, who was blitzed by Kyrie Irving and Bruce Brown. Smart dished the ball to Tatum in the short roll, then Kyrie chased Tatum into the paint and Drummond cut off his driving lane. But that left Daniel Theis open in the restricted area and Tatum used his gravity to swing to Theis for the short distance jumper. 

Jayson Tatum tightly defended Kevin Durant on the corner as Kyrie Irving tried to blow past Marcus Smart. When that failed, Irving ran a dribble handoff for Durant and Tatum switched onto Kyrie. Durant anticipated Irving cutting, but due to Tatum’s positioning, Kyrie was trapped in the corner. So, Durant’s pass turned into a live-ball turnover. Tatum recovered the ball and drew a foul on the other end in transition. 

Daniel Theis attempted a dribble handoff with Jayson Tatum, but Bruce Brown cut off Theis’ passing lane. However, Tatum used his instincts and footwork to quickly cut back to the left wing and he burnt Brown in the process. Theis hit Tatum with an overhead pass and Tatum stepped into the seemingly effortless three-ball.

Fourth Quarter

Jayson Tatum ran the Brooklyn Nets off of their own floor. Boston’s suffocating defense forced turnovers and contested jump-shots. The Celtics wasted no time on the other end and dominated the fast-break with Brooklyn playing lackluster transition defense. Tatum scored at the rim time and time again and frequently drew contact in transition. 

Tatum set an on-ball screen for Marcus Smart, then he left Patty Mills in the dust as Smart dished the ball to him. In the midst of his dribble drive, Nic Claxton rotated off of Al Horford to protect the rim. Then, Bruce Brown sagged off of Jaylen Brown to help Claxton in the paint. Tatum used his gravity to create an open shot for Horford in the left corner. He then hit Horford with a fancy one-handed bounce pass and Horford drained the corner three. 

Marcus Smart set an on-ball screen on Kevin Durant to give Jayson Tatum a more favorable matchup in Patty Mills. Tatum beat Mills off of the dribble and split through Brooklyn’s backline defense for a graceful under-handed layup.