Celtics

Jayson Tatum gets no respect!

usatsi_10548138.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Photo

Jayson Tatum gets no respect!

The popular narrative surrounding struggling Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum is that he’s hit the dreaded “rookie wall.” Another fun theory is that he’s been hampered by a dislocated finger suffered on December 20 vs Miami. One or both may be the cause of his dip in shooting since the start of this calendar year (he went from 58.5 eFG percent in 2017 to 46.2 eFG percent in 2018). But another factor could be respect, or the lack thereof, for Tatum when driving to the hoop.

MORE CELTICS

From October through December, Tatum averaged 4.6 drives per game, coming away with points on 77 percent of those drives (fourth in the NBA). A lot of those points came at the line, as Tatum drew a foul on an NBA-leading 15 percent of his trips to the basket. Since January 1, Tatum is averaging 6.5 drives per game, but is only coming away with points on 55 percent of those drives. Oddly, the Celtics forward is only drawing a foul on 6 percent of his drives over that span, which is 67th in the NBA.

It’s hard to say why he’s no longer getting fouls, but the lack of respect is definitely impacting his overall efficiency. Hopefully the zebras will start treating Tatum like the obvious future Hall of Famer he is in the final stretch of the season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Marcus Smart on ejection: 'I always gotta protect myself at all times'

Marcus Smart on ejection: 'I always gotta protect myself at all times'

Marcus Smart was ejected in the Boston Celtics' Wednesday night loss to the Philadelphia 76ers after he angrily shoved the Sixers' star center, Joel Embiid, in the back. Now, Smart is speaking out about what happened and why he did what he did.

Smart opened up about everything that happened during media availability in Charlotte. He lamented how difficult it was to defend in the NBA and also referenced an illegal screen that he thought Embiid set.

I thought it was just really obvious that it was an illegal screen that should’ve been called and I thought it should’ve been cleaned up. You know, if you called that screen or you make the right call, you just don’t let an offensive player do what he wanted. Allow the defender to protect himself and protect his space as well. None of that ever happened.

So, with the illegal elbow, I don’t know if you guys watched this but you can even see Joel lean in with the elbow. You can see Joel walk off like he didn’t even do anything. I don’t know what the call was. So, after that, I waited for the call, it didn’t happen, and I just got up and pushed him.

The Celtics were up 11 when Smart exited the game, but they ultimately ended up losing by three points. Brad Stevens expressed his disappointment in Smart's decision after the game, specifically citing Aron Baynes' injury as part of the reason that the team really needed Smart on the floor.

Smart ended up being issued a $50,000 fine from the NBA.

Despite the end result of everything, Smart said that he wouldn't change anything about what he did.

I’ll do it over again. I’m going to protect myself at all times, especially if I don’t feel like I’m being protected out there like everybody else is. If you don’t want to clean it up, I’ll clean it up myself.

Smart will return to the Celtics' lineup on Saturday against the Hornets. He'll help out the team, as they have already declared three rotation players out for the game in Charlotte.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Celtics: Horford, Baynes, Hayward declared out vs. Hornets

Celtics: Horford, Baynes, Hayward declared out vs. Hornets

The Boston Celtics are dealing with some injuries at the moment. They will be without three key players during their game against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.

According to the Celtics' official Twitter, Aron Baynes, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford are all going to be out while the team visits Charlotte.

None of these absences are particularly surprising. Horford is likely just getting a maintenance day to rest his sore knee, as the team will be playing back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.

Baynes injured his ankle against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. The ankle injury was originally expected to keep him out at least a couple of weeks, but he may return far earlier than expected. It seems that he now may have a chance to suit up on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.

With both Baynes and Horford out, that would figure to lead to extended minutes for Daniel Theis and Robert Williams in the frontcourt rotation. Theis seems likely to draw the start in place of Horford.

Hayward is still subject to the league's concussion protocol, so his status will be up in the air until he clears that. The team figures to be cautious with him and won't rush him back.

In Hayward's absence, Jaylen Brown will likely see more minutes off the bench while Semi Ojeleye could rejoin the rotation as well.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.