How Ime Udoka Explained Jayson Tatum’s Struggles After Game 4 Loss

Tatum finished with 23 points on 23 shots during Game 4

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BOSTON — The Boston Celtics needed more from their First Team All-NBA star Jayson Tatum during Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night at TD Garden.

Tatum scored a team-high 23 points on 23 shots (8-for-23 from floor) while aiding in Boston’s turnover troubles as he tied his six assists with six giveaways. Tatum has showed off in spurts during the series, but the Celtics entered the best-of-seven needing the NBA All-Star to be the best player on the court and he has not lived up to that billing. (Hint: Steph Curry)

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka explained what he thought was hampering Tatum through four games, as he’s averaged 22 points while shooting 34 percent from the field.

“At times he’s looking for fouls,” Udoka said after Boston’s 107-97 defeat. “They are a team that loads up in certain games. He’s finding the outlets. Shooting over two, three guys. That’s the balance of being aggressive and picking your spots and doing what he’s done in previous games, which is kicked it out and got wide-open looks.

“That’s the ongoing theme so to speak, him getting to the basket, being a scorer as well as a playmaker,” Udoka continued. “They do a good job with their rotations. Sometimes hunting fouls instead of going to finish. I’ve seen that in a few games so far.”

The Celtics now head back to San Francisco with the series tied at 2-all, becoming a best of three with two games at Chase Center. Boston certainly would benefit from a signature performance from Tatum with Game 5 set to tip off at 9 p.m. ET on Monday.

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