Celtics

Celtics' Jayson Tatum after rough night against Bucks: 'On to the next one'

Celtics' Jayson Tatum after rough night against Bucks: 'On to the next one'

When Jayson Tatum was asked about what he saw on film following Boston’s 119-112 loss Friday night, he quipped, “a lot of missed shots.”

Especially those that left his hands.

Tatum had five points on a woeful 2-for-18 shooting performance which stands one of his worst shooting performances this season.

On November 11 of last year, Tatum missed 17 of 18 shot attempts against Dallas and like Friday’s game against Milwaukee, he finished with a season-low five points.

The Celtics wound up beating the Mavericks 116-106 which is why the sting of Friday’s 119-112 loss to the Bucks was the kind of game Tatum is eager to move on from as soon as possible.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 3:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

He’ll get his wish when the Celtics take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday afternoon.

“We play every other day so you always have a chance to bounce back and forget about the last game,” Tatum said.

Having that mindset bodes well for Tatum going forward, especially when you consider the amount of attention he is getting and will continue to receive during his ascension as one of the NBA’s top players.

Tatum came into the NBA’s restart as one of the league’s hottest players.

Since the All-Star break, only Washington’s Bradley Beal (36.5 points per game) and the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (30.0 points per game) had a higher scoring average than Tatum (29.9).

Playing at such a high level thrust Tatum’s name into the conversation about the best of the best in the NBA, players who on a night-in, night-out basis draw considerable praise and attention from fans and opponents. 

But it is performances like the one we saw on Friday from Tatum that raises some questions as to whether it might be premature to put the 22-year-old Tatum among the game’s elite right now.

“I don’t really let things like that affect me,” Tatum said of his struggles against the Bucks. “I try not to pay too much attention to it, especially if I’m playing bad or even when I’m playing good. You have nights like that, you have good nights. Always, on to the next one.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens isn’t the least bit worried about Tatum’s rough night, either. 

“Some nights are just not your night,” Stevens said. “He’s an unreal basketball player. That doesn’t mean every day the ball will go in at sixty percent. So, at the end of the day, he’ll … learn what he needs to do and try to do it better next time."

Stevens added, “One of the things I think all of these guys that are great understand is, not every day is your day. Sometimes you have to be able to learn, laugh it off and move on.”

Enes Kanter Show: Celtics center praises Brad Stevens for explanation of less playing time

Enes Kanter Show: Celtics center praises Brad Stevens for explanation of less playing time

The Boston Celtics committed to Brad Stevens with a contract extension earlier this week, and it isn't difficult to see why.

The C's head coach has received rave reviews from players and staff who have had the opportunity to work alongside him in Boston over the last seven years. Not only has Stevens done a phenomenal job leading the team on the court, but possibly even more importantly, he's been able to connect with his players off of it.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers, which begins Monday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

In a brand new episode of the Enes Kanter Show, the Celtics center explains to Chris Forsberg what makes Stevens such a great head coach.

Enes Kanter Show: Celtics’ dodgeball games and getting ready to joust with Joel Embiid and the Sixers | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"What makes him so special is what he does off the court," Kanter said about Stevens. "He's the type of coach that tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Always keeps it 100 percent real with you. More than a coach, he's just a friend, man. You can literally go to talk to him about anything."

Kanter, who has seen his minutes reduced lately in the Orlando bubble, praised Stevens for how he communicated with him about his decrease in playing time.

"There were some games where I was not playing a lot," said Kanter. "I went to his room and we talked, and he was like, 'Hey, listen, it's your ninth year now and there's so many young guys that are looking up to you. Your best strength is not the offensive rebound. Your best strength is not the post-ups, not the finishes and everything. Your best strength is just being a good teammate. Just trying to give positive energy. And that's what we need from you in the games where you don't play.'

"I mean, look, not every coach is comfortable talking to their players. The Celtics organization definitely feels very special to have him on our side ... It's a blessing to have a person like him on our team."

Also discussed on the show: The story behind the Celtics' dodgeball game in the bubble, Kanter's frustration at Jayson Tatum "being good at everything," and how the Celtics can slow down Joel Embiid.

You can listen and subscribe to The Enes Kanter Show here, or watch on YouTube.

Celtics-76ers preview: What will Philly miss most from Ben Simmons?

Celtics-76ers preview: What will Philly miss most from Ben Simmons?

As we saw throughout most of Philadelphia’s seeding games, the 76ers losing Ben Simmons (left knee surgery) for the season was a huge blow. 

It’s one of the main reasons why the Boston Celtics are overwhelming favorites over their Eastern Conference rival in the teams' first-round playoff series, which begins on Monday.

So where will Simmons' absence be felt the most?

Defense

For all the impressive things Simmons does with the basketball, the Sixers will miss him most on the defensive side.

The 6-foot-10 Simmons boasts length, size and lateral quickness that causes problems for opponents offensively because of his pick-and-roll defensive potential that’s on display most nights.

Against the Celtics, Simmons spends most of his time on the floor guarding Boston’s top scorer, Jayson Tatum. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers, which begins Monday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

In the four games the two teams played this season, three of which were won by Philly, Simmons limited Tatum’s impact each time. 

According to NBA.com/stats, Tatum shot 31.3 percent (5-for-16) in games in which he was guarded by Simmons this season. 

So, if Tatum puts up big-time numbers in this series, no one should be surprised considering the Sixers player who has consistently done the best job at defending him won’t be on the floor.

Offensive mismatches

A point guard trapped in a big man's body, Simmons has speed and strength that creates matchup problems on the perimeter as well as on the post.

The 24-year-old averaged 16.4 points along with 7.8 rebounds and 8.0 assists this season while shooting a team-best 58 percent from the field.

Celtics Talk Podcast: The Al Horford conundrum and why Sixers won’t last long vs. Celtics | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Simmons’ shooting range has been a topic of discussion for as long as he has been in the NBA. And while it creates a different kind of challenge for the Sixers when it comes to running their offense, the third-year pro has shown himself to be talented enough to still be a high-impact, difference-maker for Philly.

Playmaking

Soon after the Sixers arrived in the bubble, head coach Brett Brown talked about how the team was planning to play Simmons more at power forward to better utilize his versatility and create better spacing for the team’s perimeter shooters.

Like most of what the Sixers have tried to do this season, the few times we saw Simmons in that role it didn’t work. But his absence creates an even bigger hole when it comes to playmaking.

Shake Milton has moved into the starting lineup after putting together a string of impressive performances prior to the league being suspended in March.

However, his impact was greatest as a scorer, which is different from what he is being charged with now. Milton is averaging 12.5 points as a starter this season to go with 2.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists. 

No one is expecting him to put up Simmons-like numbers, but the more you watch Milton play and try to run Philly's offense, the clearer it becomes just how much Simmons’ presence is missed.