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#pounditFriday, July 12, 2024

Jayson Tatum reveals reason Celtics are not comfortable up 3-0

Jayson Tatum smiling

May 7, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) smiles before game one of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics are on the verge of sweeping the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, but Jayson Tatum says his team has one very good reason to not get complacent.

No team in NBA history has ever come back from being down 3-0 in a playoff series. Only one team in the last 20 years has even forced a Game 7 after trailing 3-0. That team was the Celtics, and it happened just last year.

After he led Boston to a 106-99 win with 31 points in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night, Tatum told reporters that the Celtics know from personal experience that they cannot take their foot off the gas despite having a commanding 3-0 lead.

“We was a sprained ankle away from having a real shot (at a comeback last year). We’re not relaxing or anything like that. … However long it takes, that’s what it’s gonna take,” Tatum said.

The Celtics lost the first three games of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat last year. They then won three straight to force Game 7 in Boston, becoming only the fourth team in NBA history to do so after being down 3-0. Tatum sprained his ankle early in Boston’s 103-84 Game 7 loss and later told reporters he was “a shell of myself.”

Tatum made it clear after Game 3 that the Celtics still have a chip on their shoulder. Even if the Mavericks have almost no chance of making a comeback, Tatum and company insist they are fully focused on finishing the job.

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