Tatum gives candid response to criticisms this postseason

Tatum gives candid response to criticisms this postseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum bounced back in Saturday night's Game 3 106-93 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, scoring a team-high 33 points. After receiving criticism for his slow start in the scoring department, averaging just 21.7 points through the first seven games, Tatum reminded his critics that there's more to his game than his point totals.

"When they are fair, and they take emotion out of it -- whatever way they are leaning towards and they are fair -- I respect it," Tatum said of his critics. "I understand what the media has brought to our game -- more eyes, more attention, and how everybody has benefitted from that -- so I wouldn't say I'd take [criticism] as disrespect."

Responding to his critics by scoring 33 points on 44 percent from the field, Tatum also showed that his game is much more than scoring with a team-high 13 rebounds, six assists, a steal, and a block.

"I don't always agree with what [the critics] say -- maybe I feel like they're not watching everything else that I'm doing -- but that's not my job to focus on that or give it any attention," Tatum added. "My job is to be the best player I can be for our team on any given night."

Now averaging 23.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game in the 2024 playoffs, Tatum joins the Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic and Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid as the only players to average over 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists this postseason. At only 26 years old, Tatum has already played in 102 playoff games and joined Larry Bird and John Havlicek as the only Celtics players to log over 25 games with 30 or more points.

"I would love to make every shot I take, and I know I can shoot better -- and I will -- but at this time in the season, as long as we win and are trending in the right direction, I know me scoring will come," Tatum said. "I've done that plenty, plenty of times. I just try to impact the game in other ways and just dominate -- dominate the game and not just be defined as just a scorer."

Now with a 2-1 series lead, the Celtics will look to carry their momentum into Monday night for their Game 4 matchup in Cleveland against the Cavaliers at 7 p.m. ET. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston with Celtics Pregame Live.