Celtics

Jayson Tatum felt 'way more comfortable' against Sixers

Jayson Tatum felt 'way more comfortable' against Sixers

The way Jayson Tatum saw it, starting for the Celtics was a matter of when – not if – it would happen.

The 6-foot-8 forward got the call on Friday and proved he was up to the challenge with a fast start that helped Boston pull away for a 110-102 win over Philadelphia.

Tatum had nine points which included him making his first three shots from the field.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had told Tatum that he would be looking to start different lineups in the preseason, so Tatum assumed at some point he would be getting the call to play with the first unit.

Tatum said he felt “way more comfortable” against Philly in comparison to his first preseason game against Charlotte on Monday.

“I was more calm, relaxed,” Tatum said.

Part of that certainly had to do with him being on the floor to start the game with the team’s Big Three of Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford in addition to his best friend on the team, Jaylen Brown.

Said Stevens: “I figured he would look good with those guys.”

Tatum added, “It makes it easier (starting). I’m playing with Gordon, Kyrie and Al. People not worrying about me. So when they help, I can make easy shots.”

For Tatum’s teammates, his play on Friday was just an extension of what he has been doing throughout the preseason in practice.

What often jumps out about Tatum when he’s on the floor, is the maturity he shows when it comes to doing what is necessary to be effective.

On offense, he was matched up early on with Philadelphia’s J.J. Redick who is at least four inches shorter. Rather than trying to back Redick down deep into the paint, Tatum backed him down just enough to where he was in his sweet, mid-range spot and simply shot over him.

And in transition, Tatum made a point of getting to the spots on the floor where he’s most comfortable.

Besides pulling up for jumpers in transition, Tatum also has the ability to put it on the floor and finished with a powerful one-handed dunk.

Irving has been quizzed about Tatum often, and admits he’s running low on superlatives when it comes to describing his teammate.

“I don’t know how many other quotes I can give you guys about Jayson,” said Irving who led all scorers with 21 points which included 5-for-7 from 3-point range. “He’s just such an awesome kid. He’s like a big kid. He’s just going to continue to get better and every single day he values that as we all do as teammates to encourage him and encourage each other.”

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Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'

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Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'

WALTHAM, Mass. – The NBA has talked with  Celtics guard Kyrie Irving about disparaging comments he made to a fan at halftime that have since gone viral.

Irving said the incident happened as the Celtics were heading back to the locker room at halftime after the Celtics fell behind 50-46 to the Sixers.

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“Kyrie, where’s LeBron?” yelled the fan.

Irving replied with a lewd suggestion. 

After practice on Saturday, Irving acknowledged that he did say something to a fan and that he had a conversation with the league regarding the incident.

Regrets?

“Hell no,” Irving said. “Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s the social media platform we live on.

Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”

The league has not officially announced a fine for Irving, but it’s more a matter of when not if that will be forthcoming.

In fact, earlier today, the league fined New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for “inappropriate language” towards a fan in the Pelicans’ 103-91 loss at Memphis on Wednesday.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens had not seen the video in question but was aware that Irving had been in conversations with the league office regarding the incident.

“Guys know what the right thing to do is,” Stevens said. “People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on. There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”