The Boston Celtics have had a tumultuous path to the NBA Finals. They have had 2 series which went to seven games and on top of that there were no easy opponents. Yet they made it into the promise land despite having a rough start to their season. Many were skeptical whether the Celtics were even seriously competing. But all doubts vanished when they acquired Derrick White and started to show promise.
Of course the Celtics are making a fairytale journey but there was one player who was taking the challenges and making the most of it. That player was none other than Jayson Tatum. Although the Celtics have two aces in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum but it has been pretty clear this season as to whose team it is.
The Star of the show
Jayson Tatum has been the best performer for the Boston Celtics in the 2022 Playoffs. He has taken on opponents by the horns and showed off his offensive skills. For the playoffs, Jayson Tatum has averaged 26.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.
He has developed his game to such an extent that he has now created a lot of options for himself in just a single play, much like his favorite player, Kobe Bryant. Like the Black Mamba, Tatum also has a habit of taking bad shots although most argue that it is because of Kobe’s influence.
One other trait that he learnt from his master was taking revenges. In the past 3 Playoffs, Tatum was destroyed by the likes of Giannis, Butler and Durant. In 2019, Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Celtics lost to the Bucks. Giannis put up astronomical numbers in the series and the Celtics could not do anything getting booted out in 5 games.
In the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat stood in the way of the Celtics and Jayson Tatum was humbled by Butler and Adebayo getting defeated in 6 games. And in 2021 Playoffs, they met the Brooklyn Nets in the first round. Although Jayson Tatum put up great numbers, the trio of Kyrie, Harden and KD was too much for them to handle getting kicked out in 5 games.
In this playoffs, Tatum was blessed with the opportunity to face all 3 of his adversaries in the 2022 playoffs. So without hesitation, he and the Celtics took on the challenge to wash away the frustrations of losing for 3 consecutive years.
In the first round, coupled with his new found defensive abilities, Tatum was effective on both ends of the court as he outplayed both Durant and Irving in the 1st round. He put up averages of 29.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Tatum and the Cs swept the Nets putting a check on their first revenge.
In the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, he went against Giannis and the Bucks. Despite without Khris Middleton, the Bucks proved to be a bit handful for the Celtics. Tatum came through for his team as he competed on both ends of the floor and put up 27.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1 steal and 1.1 blocks per game in the series. It took the Celtics 7 games to get vengeance on the Milwaukee Bucks.
In the Eastern Conference Finals, they met the Miami Heat who were led by Jordan-possessed Jimmy Butler. He had to go through the challenge of having multiple defenders on him in that series yet he put up 25 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game in that series. Despite throwing everything they had, the Heat were denied the Finals appearance by the Celtics in 7 games.
Jayson Tatum deservingly won the Larry Bird Eastern Conference MVP as he got his revenge on all the teams who had defeated them in the past. It cannot get any sweeter than this or can it? Of course winning the NBA Championship against a dynasty like the Golden State Warriors is surely going to be the cherry on top of the icing of the cake. Let’s see whether it comes true!