The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat have traded wins through the first four games of the Eastern Conference finals, and find themselves playing in what has become a best-of-three series for a chance to go to the NBA Finals.
While injuries, slow starts and strong defensive performances can be attributed to the results of the first four games of this series, a pair of NBA analysts believe the overall outcome is in the hands of one man; Jayson Tatum.
“It comes down to decision making,” ESPN analyst J.J. Reddick said in an appearance on “Get Up”. “When he is making good decisions, that is shot selection, that is ball movement, that is knowing when to attack, knowing when not to attack… what he can’t afford to do is stall the offense with isolations and turn the ball over. When he does that, the Boston Celtics are in trouble.”
Reddick’s ESPN colleague Vince Carter agreed.
“For Jayson Tatum, I love the aggressiveness, getting downhill and getting into the paint,” Carter said. “It’s just once you accomplish that feat, what’s next is making the right play.”
It’s hard to argue with the points being made by Reddick and Carter, as the level of Tatum’s performances have coincided with that of his team. The other overwhelming factor that has gone into the results of each game in this series, slow starts, seems to be the aspect that Tatum himself is focused on rectifying.
“And I think we shouldn’t relax. We should kind of look at it as a new series, and tonight is a must-win game,” said Tatum after Wednesday’s shootaround. “And I think when you approach something as a must-win and have more sense of urgency, especially to start, I think that’s how we should approach tonight, and that goes in with the first five, six minutes of the game.”
Tipoff for the all-important Game 5 will take place at approximately 8:45 p.m. ET.