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Celtics' Jayson Tatum Talks Teams' Playoff Chances: 'Nobody Can Make Excuses'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 10:  Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana.    NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum appeared on Jumpman's The Encore with ESPN's Sage Steele after Sunday night's airing of The Last Dance and spoke about the hopeful return of the NBA season at some point and how it will be a unique situation.

"Everybody's at the same start," Tatum said (around the 16:40 mark). "... When you start the season, it's a marathon to get a championship, but when we get back, it's gonna be a sprint. And everybody's gonna have to really toughen it out to get to the championship. ... I like our chances. Everybody's in the same boat, so nobody can make excuses."

Jordan @Jumpman23

Tune in to The Encore now to see @SageSteele, @JayTatum0, and @TeyanaTaylor recap #TheLastDance. #JUMPMAN https://t.co/2iFdwHaWsA

Tatum added that the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay-at-home orders in place in certain states around the country have made staying in basketball shape more challenging than in normal circumstances.  

"It's a unique situation, obviously, because the season had an abrupt stop," the 22-year-old said. "It's not like the offseason where we've got these nice facilities and we get to work out. Everybody's just sitting at home, trying to stay in shape as best as they can."

It is, however, a challenge shared by players around the league. 

It remains unclear when the NBA will end its hiatus or if the regular season will resume at all. It's possible the league will simply go directly to the postseason or will institute some sort of expanded postseason tournament to give bubble playoff teams a chance to qualify. 

The Celtics won't be such a team. Boston was 43-21 when the season was halted and third in the Eastern Conference. If the postseason began today, they would face the Philadelphia 76ers (39-26) in the first round. That would be a tough matchup for the Celtics after going 1-3 against them in the regular season. 

Tatum was having a fantastic third season, leading the Celtics in scoring (23.6 points per game) while averaging 7.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He was shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from three. 

The St. Louis native is one of the game's bright young stars, and the 2020 postseason will be another chance for a coronation whenever it takes place. 

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