Jayson Tatum has spoken out on final possession in Cleveland:I probably should have went a little faster”

An terrible final possession capped the Celtics’ dreadful fourth quarter against the Cavaliers.


It was a fitting end to one of the worst nine-minute stretches of an almost faultless Celtics season. The Celtics, who led by 22 early in the fourth quarter, trailed by one with 19 seconds remaining after Dean Wade scored 23 points.


Jayson Tatum, who started the night strong but struggled in the fourth quarter (1-9 FG), dribbled up the court searching for an offensive mismatch. With around nine seconds remaining, Derrick White set him up with a pick, effectively bringing Darius Garland, whom the Celtics had been attempting to hound defensively all night, into the game.


However, Jarrett Allen never shifted back to White, instead assisting Garland in double-teaming Tatum. In addition, Garland held his own against a tough fadeaway jumper.

Initially, a foul was called on Garland for making contact during the game, but crew chief Zach Zarba stated in the pool report that the call was overturned after a Cavalier’s challenge because “there was clear and conclusive evidence that the leg extension by Tatum created that marginal contact with the defender where otherwise contact wouldn’t have been made.”


The reversed call meant the Celtics and Cavs lined up for a jump ball with 0.7 seconds left, which was not enough time for Boston to call a timeout and keep possession.


Both Jayson Tatum and Joe Mazzulla admitted after the game that Tatum should have moved faster and given the team more chances. While neither elaborated on the point, more time on the clock could have given them the opportunity for an offensive rebound or perhaps to foul Cleveland and try their hand at offense again.


“Obviously, I know how much time was on the clock,” Tatum went on to say. “Probably should have went a little faster, just in case some s*** like that happened, maybe we have more time, or another opportunity.”

The Celtics have run down the clock a few seconds too long while behind before. Most notoriously, time expired in Game 4 of the Conference Semifinals against Philadelphia, and Marcus Smart’s three-pointer did not count. However, the Celtics have been effective in clutch time this year, boasting an 18-9 record in games where the score is within five points within the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.

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