Jayson Tatum Explains Why Celtics Play Better On Road In Playoffs

The C's need to win 4-of-5 against Miami or it's over


May 21, 2023

The Boston Celtics have been horrible at defending their home floor throughout the playoffs.

In nine games played at TD Garden this postseason, the Celtics are 4-5. Plus, in each of Boston’s three series played, the Celtics have had home-court advantage over opponents. So what’s the problem? Well, the Celtics have treated their advantage recklessly, an ongoing constant even with a clear path to the NBA Finals.

Boston is 4-2 on the road, though, showing an ability to overcome its self-created adversity. With an 0-2 deficit heading into Game 3 against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, the question once again presents itself: Why are the Celtics so much better on the road than at home?

“Usually when we go on the road this year and last year we just, we’ve had no other choice,” Celtics star Jayson Tatum explained to reporters Sunday, per CLNS Media video. “It was either win or the season’s over with. So, kind of back against the wall, gotta figure it out, and for the most part we’ve done that.”

Pretty cliche, but there isn’t really any other answer to it at this point. The Celtics have forced themselves into bail-out situations because they’ve continuously fumbled with opportunities to seal the deal early on.

Just like in Round 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 6, it’s now or never for the Celtics. Boston can’t afford a 3-0 deficit, putting its season on the very edge of a cliff. Already on thin ice, the Celtics are in desperate need of a response after watching Jimmy Butler and Miami run them off their home floor at TD Garden.

Tatum, more than anyone else in the Celtics locker room, is due. Since scoring 51 points in Game 7 against the 76ers, Tatum has ducked under the covers and become a no-show when needed versus Miami. As opposed to going head-to-head with Butler, Tatum has gone ghost, making zero shot attempts in the fourth quarter of Games 1 and 2, sitting aside while Boston crumbles in crunch time.

But, as teammate Jaylen Brown — who’s also due — emphasized after Game 2, it’s not over yet.

Tatum, Brown and the C’s have their shot at redemption in Game 3 at Kaseya Center.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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