While most of the narrative surrounding Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics has been negative, one ESPN analyst flipped the script to say they have been “over-scrutinized” during the playoffs.

Tim Legler told JJ Redick on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast, that Tatum has been unfairly judged for his overall play.

“I was asked to finish a sentence on one of the shows I was on. It was, ‘Jayson Tatum in the playoffs has been…’ and you have to finish the sentence,” Legler explained to Reddick. “And I finished it by saying, ‘Better than he’s given credit for.’ That’s how I finished that sentence.”

Leger added: “Five years in a row, 25 points a game in the playoffs, five years in a row. Three of the last five years over 10 rebounds a game in the playoffs for your small forward. That’s legit big-time numbers. I think three or four of those years over five assists a game.”

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The former NBA player turned analyst acknowledges that Tatum’s shooting percentage numbers have come down over the years, calling it a “fair criticism” of the Celtics star, but says the narrative is too negative overall.

“He gets beat up like this dude just doesn’t show up,” Legler said. “And it’s just not fair. That’s just not fair when you look at it.”

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Legler added that while Tatum has had some “rough” performances in the playoffs, he’s also come through down the stretch for Boston.

“Last year at Philly, he was like 1-for-11 or something or maybe worse,” Legler said. “And banged three threes to win the game and force Game 7. That was one of those, star players nowhere to be seen. Can you flick the switch when you have to in the last three minutes? Man, did he flick that switch.

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“I’m just saying I think overall in general, it’s over-scrutinized. The team is over-scrutinized. I look at it like when they have faced adversity, and it hasn’t been a ton, their response has been pretty impressive. What they’ve done in this postseason run.”

Even while crediting the Celtics for their ability to respond, Legler noted Boston’s “ultimate challenge” will come against whichever opponent — the Dallas Mavericks or Minnesota Timberwolves — they face in the Finals.

“It’s going to be long. It’s going to be tough,” Legler said. “Totally different defensive challenge for Boston than what they’ve seen. Totally different challenge for their offense with those two teams.

“That’s when we’ll finally be able to say, ‘Okay, forget everything that’s happened to this point. This is all that matters. Now, go get it done or not.’ That, to me, is ultimately what I’m basing this entire season on for the Celtics.”

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Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images