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Celtics’ Joe Mazzulla Argues With Reporter Over Jayson Tatum’s ‘Slump’

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Celtics’ Joe Mazzulla Argues With Reporter Over Jayson Tatum’s ‘Slump’

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Boston Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla didn’t seem to appreciate a reporter’s insinuation that star Jayson Tatum has been struggling of late.

After the Celtics’ 121—99 road win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, Mazzulla traded barbs with a Boston reporter over Tatum’s performance. Tatum recorded 26 points, five rebounds and eight assists in Monday’s game. He’s averaging 26.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game this season.

In the postgame press conference, the reporter started to dig into the five-time All-Star, telling Mazzulla, “Jayson’s out there. I mean it just seems like at times he’s struggling. He’s trying to find his shot …”

Mazzulla abruptly cut off the question and replied, “He had 26, 8, and 5. But when [Tyrese] Maxey did that, you said we couldn’t stop him. … I remember he had like 30 points on 28 shots, and you were like, ‘How come you couldn’t stop him?’ It’s the same thing.”

Mazzulla continued, “People are so used to seeing [Tatum] dominate in a different way, but we have a different team this year with different expectations. The most valuable thing that a guy like him can do is do what the game needs and do what the team needs.”

To the reporter’s point, Tatum shot 9-of-23 from the field and 2-of-8 from beyond the arc Monday, marking the fourth straight game in which he has shot below 40% on field goals.

However, Tatum scored at least 25 points for the seventh time in nine games since the All-Star break and remains an integral piece for the Celtics’ postseason aspirations.

With Monday’s win, the Celtics became the first NBA team to reach 50 wins this season. Boston is currently the top seed in the Eastern Conference and sits 8 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Milwaukee Bucks. Up next is a road matchup against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. 



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