The NBA Finals are turning Jayson Tatum green with envy.
The Boston Celtics forward told CLNS Media’s Jeff Goodman on Tuesday watching the Toronto Raptors compete for the NBA championship “stings” him. Many predicted the Celtics would reach the NBA Finals in 2018-19, but the team underachieved during the regular season, and the Milwaukee Bucks eliminated them in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
The Raptors won the Atlantic Division and ultimately bested the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals. Toronto now leads the Golden State Warriors 3-2, much to Tatum’s chagrin.
“That’s kind of what stings the most,” Tatum said on the “Good ‘N Plenty” podcast, per NBC Sports Boston’s Justin Leger. “Wish we didn’t leave things on the table, wish we would’ve made it work because you don’t know how many times you’ll get opportunities to be on a team that good. That really, really had a chance.”
Earlier in the podcast, Tatum lifted the lid on the Celtics’ chemistry issues, telling Goodman the players didn’t fail to meet expectations for want of trying and the group remained tight-knit throughout the season.
“I don’t know what people believe on the outside, but we had a lot of good guys,” Tatum said. “Everybody wanted to win. Everybody wanted to make it work, but I don’t know if we knew how to exactly do that. We all got along great, on the plane, off the court, but even watching film, it didn’t necessarily look like we were all on the same page during the games.
“And it’s not one person’s fault. It’s not Brad’s fault, or Danny’s fault, we all played a part. People can blame the GM and the coach, but we still had to go out there and perform and do our job, and like I said, we didn’t always do it.”
Perhaps watching a rival come within touching distance of glory will spur the Celtics to reach that level in coming seasons. If it doesn’t, Tatum only will become more familiar with the jealously he currently feels.