Perk has advice for Jayson Tatum ahead of Game 6 of NBA Finals


One way or the other, Thursday night is the final game of the season at TD Garden for the Boston Celtics.

The team can extend its season to Game 7 of the NBA Finals in San Francisco with a win over the Golden State Warriors, but the Celtics are going to need far more contributions from their most important players in order to do so.

Among those with the largest spotlight on them ahead of Game 6: Jayson Tatum

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Appearing on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption on Thursday, former Celtics big man and NBC Sports Boston analyst Kendrick Perkins was asked by co-host Mike Wilbon if it's fair to expect Tatum to be the kind of player who can go out and score 35-40 points to extend the series. In addition to confirming his thoughts that Tatum is a "superstar-caliber player," citing his First Team All-NBA nod, Perkins provided some of his own advice for Tatum ahead of Game 6.

"If I was in that locker room, I'd say, 'hey bro, we've got your back like car seats,'" Perkins said. "Secondly, I'd say 'hey look, you're a bad man, go out there and do what you best and attack downhill. Get to the rack, snatch the screws out of the basket, get to the free throw line and take us home.'"


Tatum is averaging 23.2 points over five games in the Finals, his lowest of Boston's four postseason series to date. But Tatum has delivered a masterpiece in this situation earlier on this postseason, Perkins noted, citing his 46-point performance in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks.

In addition to his advice for Tatum, Perkins had some advice for both Celtics coach Ime Udoka and the rest of the players on the roster as far as the referees were concerned.

"Don't look for calls in the NBA Finals, period," Perkins said. "That's the one thing I love about the NBA officials, they get it right during the Finals. They get a veteran crew that's going to let you play it out, they're going to let some calls go, they're gonna let you play physical, don't depend on the whistle."

Perkins relayed a message his former coach with the Celtics, Doc Rivers, used to instill in the team.

"Don't leave the game in the officials' hands," Perkins said. "If you take care of your business, you don't have to worry about the whistle." 

Lastly, when it came to defending home court one last time this postseason, Perkins brought up an unsettling memory of postseason's past for the Celtics.

"If you think you were mad when Kyrie Irving stepped on Lucky [the Leprechaun logo], just imagine how pissed off you'll be watching them get drowned in champagne," Perkins said, referring to what would happen if the Warriors won Game 6.