Fans Call out Jayson Tatum for 'Nightmare' Effort in Celtics' Game 3 Loss to Bucks

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 7, 2022

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during Game 2 in the second round of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff series, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Jayson Tatum's defense has been invaluable for his team during the 2022 NBA playoffs, but the Boston Celtics star got a taste of his own medicine in the Milwaukee Bucks' 103-101 victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Things got tense late as the Celtics outscored the Bucks 34-23 in the fourth quarter. Milwaukee managed to hold on. A game-tying putback by Al Horford came after the final buzzer.

Tatum delivered one of the game's biggest highlights with a right-handed jam as he finished despite a tough contest from Giannis Antetokounmpo.


JAYSON TATUM WITH AUTHORITY ON THE BREAK! <a href="https://t.co/WASJ4kOfGT">pic.twitter.com/WASJ4kOfGT</a>

That was only one of four makes for the three-time All-Star, though, as he shot 4-of-19 from the field and 0-of-6 from three-point territory.

His performance was in stark contrast to the rest of his effort to this point in the postseason. He averaged 28.0 points and 7.2 assists while shooting 44.0 percent from beyond the arc through Boston's first six games.

Jason Patt @Bulls_Jay

What a nightmare Tatum game and a brutal swing there. Blows the bunny and then Jrue with the 3 on the other end. Sheesh.

Lou Merloni @LouMerloni

Tatum is a mess. He better show up

Dan Greenberg @StoolGreenie

Unfortunate time for Tatum to have his worst game in 5 months

Tatum's lack of urgency on offense was surprising.

Mike Giardi @MikeGiardi

Who wants to tell Tatum that this is game 3 of a playoff series?

Danny Marang @DannyMarang

Tatum settling for anything with Giannis in front of him. Not willing to work for it.

Alan Hahn @alanhahn

What’s up with Tatum’s body language in this game? Energy isn’t right and complaining a lot to officials. Need more of Giannis’ determination with the physicality.

At times, it was a case of Murphy's law in action.

Nate Duncan @NateDuncanNBA

Missed layup by Tatum at the rim, leads to Jrue corner 3. C's had to make their move with Giannis out and instead transition failures have resulted in -4 so far with him out.

Credit the Bucks defense for almost totally neutralizing Boston's best player. Wesley Matthews was particularly effective against Tatum.

Kirk Goldsberry @kirkgoldsberry

Tatum has shot 0-for-9 with Wesley Matthews as the primary defender. <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPNStatsInfo</a>

Steve Jones Jr. @stevejones20

It appears the Bucks have moved to a drop vs. Tatum and that is *not* a W for the Celtics.

Head coach Ime Udoka and his staff can look at this loss one of two ways.

The Celtics continued to hang around deep into the fourth quarter and were a few defensive stops away from jumping ahead. That they could've plausibly won despite Tatum playing so poorly is encouraging.

Granted, Boston was also unable to capitalize on a golden opportunity to take a 2-1 series lead, in no small part because it got so little from Tatum. Milwaukee can firmly put itself in the driver's seat with a victory in Game 4 on Monday.