Jayson Tatum Says Celtics 'All Thought' Marcus Smart Was Going to Take Final Shot

Doric SamApril 17, 2022

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) celebrates after making a layup at the buzzer to score and win Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Boston. The Celtics won 115-114. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
AP Photo/Steven Senne

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was made the hero of Sunday's Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets after his game-winning, buzzer-beating layup.

But Tatum had praise for Celtics point guard Marcus Smart for having the awareness to feed him the ball as he cut to the basket after Smart drew two Brooklyn defenders with a pump fake, telling reporters Smart surprised even his own teammates by not taking the shot.

"I think we all thought Marcus was gonna shoot it," Tatum said. "But we made eye contact, he made a great pass and I just had to make a layup."

Tatum finished with a team-high 31 points and eight assists in the 115-114 win. His running mate Jaylen Brown added 23 points and four steals. The Celtics also got 20 points and 15 rebounds from veteran center Al Horford. Smart put up 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists, his last one being the most important:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

TATUM CALLED GAME ‼️ <a href="https://t.co/8slEipnVp2">pic.twitter.com/8slEipnVp2</a>

Smart averaged 12.1 points and 5.9 assists in the regular season, so the Celtics would greatly benefit if he's able to continue increasing his production throughout the postseason. Sunday's game was the first step in the right direction for the Celtics to take a 1-0 lead in their first-round series against the Nets, who have championship aspirations.

It almost looked like Brooklyn would steal Game 1 after Boston blew a 15-point third-quarter lead. Nets point guard Kyrie Irving poured in 39 points, 18 of which came in the fourth quarter. Brooklyn star forward Kevin Durant had 23 points, but he shot 9-of-24 from the field and had six turnovers.

If Sunday's game is any indication, this is likely the most competitive first-round series in this year's playoffs. The Celtics have the home-court advantage, but they will have to continue firing on all cylinders to hold off the high-powered Nets.