Kyrie Irving can relate to Jayson Tatum.
A lot was put on Irving’s plate as a young player, and the star point guard more often than not rose to the occasion. None more so than Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, which saw a 23-year-old Irving sink the game’s biggest shot to help the Cleveland Cavaliers win their first championship in franchise history.
Similar expectations have been put on Tatum. With Irving and Gordon Hayward both sidelined throughout the Celtics’ 2018 playoff run, the young swingman often was Boston’s go-to scorer. The bright lights didn’t faze Tatum even as a rookie, as he averaged a team-high 18.5 points per game over the course of 19 postseason contests.
As such, most are expecting Tatum to take the next step when the playoffs get underway in April. Irving certainly knows how important the 21-year-old is to the Celtics’ NBA Finals hopes, and he summed it up during a recent appearance on The Players’ Tribune’s “Knuckleheads with Quentin Richardson & Darius Miles” podcast.
It’s safe to assume Irving and Tatum will be the Celtics’ first two options when they really need a bucket in crunch time. But luckily for Boston, it doesn’t have to put all of its eggs in just their baskets. Boston’s roster is littered with sure-handed players, including 12th-year veteran Al Horford.
Because if the C’s want to reach the Finals for the first time since 2010, they’ll need all hands on deck.
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