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Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum gave a glimpse of his state of mind heading into the deciding Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.
Tatum entered the Chase Center wearing a Tiger Woods t-shirt. Heading into the game with the series tied at 2-2, Tatum is averaging 22.3 points, 7.8 assists and 7 rebounds and will need to play even harder to steal another game from the Warriors on the road.
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He scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and provided 11 assists in Game 4. But Boston suffered a home loss to Golden State 107-97.
“I mean, I give [the Golden State Warriors] credit. It’s a great team. They play well. They have a game plan, things like that,” Tatum said after the loss on Friday night, via ESPN.
“But it’s on me. I have to be better. I know I impact the game in other ways, but I have to be more efficient, shoot the ball better, finish on the rim better. takes responsibility.”
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On Sunday, Tatum received high praise from Warriors star Draymond Green for how well he handled the pressure in his first Finals appearance.
“It’s tough. You’re going through something for the first time,” Green said Sunday. “I think he handled it well. He maybe didn’t shoot the ball as well as he would like or everyone would like. But overall I think he has well played, and that’s why it’s a 2-2 series coming back for Game 5. I think he handles all of that really well. He takes what the defense gives him, and that’s what the teams do. great players. But I think he’s doing a good job.”
Tatum said he was just trying to stay in the moment and ignore some of the criticism he received.
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Game 5 is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.