Do Celtics need more from Jayson Tatum? Ime Udoka gives thoughtful answer

Boston Celtics fans might get nervous waiting for Jayson Tatum to take over an NBA Finals game, but Ime Udoka isn’t sweating it.

Despite Tatum’s shooting difficulties, Udoka is focused on another facet of the Celtics star’s game: his style of play.

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“Sometimes you equate missing shots with bad play,” said Udoka. “What we saw is that he looks really good, especially in Game 1, and we knew that if he looked the same throughout the series, he would be successful. They try to take him out and guard him with two sometimes I don’t want to give him specific matchups and sometimes he has to be the playmaker. In the two wins he had 13 and 9 assists, of which he has 11. In the losses he lost about 5.

“Don’t really equate the numbers of his shooting but rather the result of him making the game and getting the read right. Sometimes it can get frustrating when they try to knock you out. But understanding how it all loosens up only through proper play. You saw that sometimes when he bagged Derrick and Marcus and our bigs and had the numbers and got some easy hoops.

The C’s head coach wants to see a solid number in the assists column for Tatum as that has been the formula for Boston’s wins in the series. But given the opportunity, he wants Tatum to shoot through his slump.

“Take your seats. Be aggressive when you have the matchup you like,” he said. “Understand that they will guard you in a certain way and make the right read that he has in the two wins.

Tatum is averaging 22.3 points and 7.8 assists per game in the finals while shooting 33.4 percent from the floor. He’ll look to improve on those stats when the series returns to San Francisco for Game 5 on Monday night.

Tip-off is scheduled for just after 9 p.m. ET. The Celtics will be looking to take a 3-2 lead back to TD Garden.







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