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Chris Mannix: The Reasons Jayson Tatum Is Set To Excel Against The Cavs


Amid their Eastern Conference semifinal clash against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics are grappling with scrutiny over Jayson Tatum’s relatively low-scoring output. Across the first seven games of the 2024 playoffs, Tatum has averaged 21.7 points, prompting NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Mannix to dissect the reasons behind the five-time All-Star’s sluggish start.

Among all playoff teams, Tatum currently ranks 19th in usage rate at 26.7 percent. Comparing this statistic to McConnell’s 27.1 percent, despite the latter being a defensive-oriented player, Mannix sees a straightforward solution to revitalize Tatum’s scoring output: increase his involvement in the offense.

At present, New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson leads the playoff usage rate rankings with 36.8 percent, while Tatum’s teammate Jaylen Brown also surpasses him at 32.4 percent. Recognizing an opportunity for Tatum to assert himself more, Mannix boldly predicts an uptick in Tatum’s performance for Saturday night’s Game 3.

“This game, it’s all going to change,” Mannix told his co-hosts. “Tom [Giles], [Brian] Scalabrine, Eddie [House], get your popcorn ready — this is the game that it changes for Jayson Tatum. Game 6 of the 2022 Conference Finals where Tatum went off against the Bucks, Game 7 last year against Philadelphia — we’re going to be talking about Game 3 against the Cleveland Cavaliers for Jayson Tatum because he is going to go off.”

Throughout his career, Tatum has demonstrated a knack for delivering in crucial moments. Notably, in Game 6 of the 2022 conference semifinals against the Bucks, Tatum exploded for 46 points. Similarly, during the 2023 conference finals versus the 76ers, Tatum showcased his scoring prowess with a remarkable 51-point performance. With the Celtics coming off a Game 2 loss at home, Mannix anticipates Tatum’s resurgence into superstardom.

“They are going to get him the ball and he’s going to make plays with the ball early,” Mannix said. “The other crazy stat that I was looking up going into this game is that when Jayson Tatum takes two dribbles and shoots, he is shooting 80 percent. When he takes one dribble and shoots, he is shooting 43 percent. When he is dribbling three times or more in these playoffs, he is shooting less than 20 percent.”

Expressing unwavering confidence in Tatum’s abilities, Mannix sets the over/under on points for him at 27.5, deeming it the simplest bet to exceed. He further asserts his belief that Tatum will not only surpass the 30-point mark but potentially even reach 40 points.

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