Remembering 1 Major Reason for Finals Loss vs Michael Jordan, Hall of Famer Relates With Jayson Tatum After Shambolic Exit: “His Teammates Fed Off of That”

Published 06/01/2023, 2:20 PM EDT

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Over the past couple of years, Jayson Tatum has become one of the best players in the league. His performances determine the trajectory that the Celtics take on most nights. In this context, his Game 7 performance against the Miami Heat didn’t match up to his reputation. Reggie Miller also played an Ace type of role for an Indiana Pacers team that didn’t have superstar talent. He could relate to the struggles of Tatum and related his own experience in that regard.

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Injuries play a huge role in the NBA. By the time Playoffs arrive, players are playing through multiple injuries. Sometimes these injuries can become detrimental and take shape in their worst forms.

Reggie Miller finds common ground with Jayson Tatum

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Jayson Tatum popped his ankle on the first play of the Elimination game of the ECF. This injury curtailed his usual nimble play, and this was a major reason the rest of the team fell off too. Despite the injury, he put in 14 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. He had an impressive series overall, averaging around 25 points a game on 46.9% shooting. Miller could understand Tatum’s position well.

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“Your star sets the tone. They set the tone in the first quarter, how we are gonna play. We are going to be aggressive, we are going after that. And sometimes that can have a negative effect as well. When Tatum went down with the ankle injury, he didn’t pop up quickly enough. You could see on his face that he had rolled it pretty well. To me, that set the tone for how Celtics were gonna play”, said Miller

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The 1998 ECF series is one of the best in NBA history and went to seven games. All but one game was decided in single digits and had several iconic moments. Miller played with a twisted ankle against Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan in 1998. The sharpshooter acted as the central plank of offense and his injury also affected the team play. Despite having a twisted ankle, the five-time All-Star managed to average 17.4 points a game and shot 43.6% from the three-point range. He injured his ankle during Game Three of the 1998 ECF. 

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“Again, it is a feeling I have, a gut feeling having been in that situation when we were in the Conference Finals versus Chicago when I had a twisted ankle playing against Jordan and the Bulls. And you are not 100%. Your guys feed off of that. I felt his teammates fed off of that and they played like that”, continued Miller.

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Jayson Tatum’s Quest for an NBA Championship

Reggie Miller’s comments indicate the importance of the Superstar player carrying the team. While Tatum received huge backlash after his Game 7 performance, the lack of support from teammates has to be pointed out too. 

Watch This Story: 28-Year-Old Derrick White Joins Michael Jordan in Elite List After What He Did for Jayson Tatum’s Celtics in Game 6

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The Celtics Forward is just 25 years old and has already showcased a lot. The Pacers sharpshooter made it to the Finals just once but couldn’t get the title. Will the budding Forward accomplish that soon?

 

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Written by:

Shubham Singh

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Shubham is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. He became a fan of the NBA in late 2000s and his interest skyrocketed after Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks upset the Miami Heat in Six Games during 2011 NBA Finals. He loves looking into playing styles of different players and teams while also trying to analyse what circumstances shape a typical NBA game.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

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