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Imagine if Jayson Tatum played as hard as Marcus Smart?!?!

Most Celtics fans wake up a little tired and a little disappointed this morning.  When that game was over last night I felt like I had just done a handful of line drills.  My blood was pumping.  I could feel the stress throughout my body.  And I was tired.  Maybe it is just the combination of oxycodone and valium that I have been on for the past couple of weeks since my neck surgery, but more likely it is just from the anxiety that comes with watching this Celtics team and knowing how good they can be, only to be let down.  Sometimes it seems like I want it more than them.

I open up with that because I am gonna go right at one particular player and I'm trying to buy myself some more time before I go completely off the rails on him.  He's one of my favorite players.  I loved it when Danny traded out of the 1 spot back to 3 and grabbed an extra pick while still landing "the man".  I have been saying for a couple of years now that he is going to be a top 5 player in the NBA very soon.  But last night, for the first time, I found myself thinking that I might be wrong about all of this. And so I'm gonna get right in his face:

Jayson Tatum - you need to play harder.  What you gave us last night was unacceptable.  And as I wrote on Twitter last night:
I'm not talking about the weak ass missed shots you had.  As Kemba said earlier this year to you, "I don't care how many shots you miss.  I want you to keep shooting."  What I'm talking about is the hustle back on defense.  The keeping your head up after you miss instead of dropping the shoulders, slouching, and watching the guys on the other team all sprint the other way for a fast break wide open basket. What I'm talking about is a fire in the belly.  A competitive spirit that says I am not going to be pushed around by these guys.

I'm not sure Tatum has it.  If you rewatch the game last night you will see lazy after lazy after lazy defense by Tatum. On a team with huge effort guys like Marcus Smart and Semi Ojele, guys willing to get trucked by bigger guys every single game, what I saw from Tatum last night was unacceptable.  I see Semi stand in the lane and not flinch as he gets rammed into at full speed to draw an offensive foul.  And then I see Tatum getting called for a technical because he slammed the ball into the ground like a petulant little child.....on a play where he got soundly beaten to the hoop because he played - you guessed it - lazy defense.

To wrap it up - I'm still a fan of Tatum.  The guy doesn't want to lose.  He nailed 3 threes late in the 4th last night.  He wants the ball in his hands during money time.  And I want it there too.  But if I was on the court with him last night, I would have been right in Tatum's face.  Either you are with us or you ain't.  You need to play harder.

I wasn't on the court with him last night.  So I'm writing it here this morning.

Comments

  1. Shaq and Barkley are partially responsible for the 38 and 13 Embiid threw up there- Maybe they will shade Tatum and get him jazzed up too. Marcus smart is such a difference maker in that team!! So apparent if you watch them.

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