Jayson Tatum: 'Quick Turnaround from the Bubble' May Be to Blame for Celtics' Woes

Adam WellsMay 28, 2021

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) runs up court with the ball during the first quarter of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

As the Boston Celtics look for answers in their first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, two-time All-Star Jayson Tatum is trying to pinpoint what has gone wrong for his team this season.

Appearing on ESPN's The Jump on Friday, Tatum called this "a weird year" and said the "quick turnaround from the bubble" may have played a role in the Celtics' issues.

Boston finished last season Sept. 27 and played its first game this season Dec. 23.

The Celtics reached the Eastern Conference Finals in the bubble, and they started this season with an 8-3 record, but that turned out to be their high-water mark.

A series of injuries and COVID-19-related absences wreaked havoc on the roster. Its primary starting five of Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker and Tristan Thompson combined to miss 93 games.

Tatum was the only one who played at least 60 games. Brown has been out since May 2 with a torn ligament in his left wrist that required season-ending surgery.

All four conference finalists from last season had roster issues in 2020-21.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis each missed at least 27 games with injuries for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Denver Nuggets lost Jamal Murray for the season April 12 when he tore his left ACL. Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic missed at least 18 games apiece for the Miami Heat.

Boston finished 36-36 during the regular season and earned the No. 7 seed in the East, marking its first non-winning season since 2014-15 (40-42).

Tatum and the Celtics will play their first home playoff game Friday when they host the Nets at 8:30 p.m. ET in Game 3 of their series.