Tatum missed his final seven shots, including one as time expired in regulation and a desperation 3-point attempt as the clock ran out in OT, paving the way for the Miami Heat to secure a 117-114 win.
The 22-year-old’s shaky conclusion to Game 1 prompted FS1’s Nick Wright to take a victory lap on Twitter.
Because while Tatum is widely considered one of the NBA’s brightest young stars, Wright isn’t quite ready to include the C’s standout among his top 10 players.
To be clear, Wright didn’t totally rip Tatum. The polarizing talking head even acknowledged Tatum might one day be a “Top 10 guy.”
Wright’s problem instead resides with those who want to put Tatum on a pedestal in just his third NBA season rather than let the former No. 3 pick’s development and evolution into a legitimate superstar play out.
Does Wright have a point? Maybe. But it’s worth noting Tatum, whose fantastic performance in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Toronto Raptors, still totaled 30 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks Tuesday night.
Tatum simply didn’t come through when it mattered most, and the image of him getting absolutely stuffed at the rim by Adebayo sure isn’t a good look, either.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images