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#pounditWednesday, June 29, 2022

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown called out by Celtics coach after Game 1 loss to Heat

Jayson Tatum warming up

Jan 4, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during warm ups prior to the against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Ime Udoka brought the heat on Tuesday after losing to the Heat.

After his team’s 118-107 loss to Miami in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Finals series, the Boston Celtics coach Udoka called out star players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for letting the game slip away in the second half.

“Having Marcus [Smart] and Al [Horford] might have helped, because they settle us down, but it wasn’t really just that,” said Udoka, per Celtics writer Keith Smith. “And it wasn’t our young guys, Payton [Pritchard] and Aaron [Nesmith]. But it was our veterans Jayson and Jaylen who let it get away from us.”

The Celtics got out to a quick start in Game 1, leading by eight points at the half and by as many as 13 overall. But Miami outscored Boston 39-14 in the third quarter and never looked back from there. Tatum managed just eight of his 29 points in the second half, and Brown also missed several key shot and free throw attempts down the stretch.

For his part, Tatum, who also had seven turnovers in the game, took responsibility for the team’s poor performance in the final 24 minutes.

This postseason, Celtics have had some highs (like sweeping the Brooklyn Nets in the first round and knocking out the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in the second round) as well as some recent lows. But Udoka knows that the team needs a better, more consistent showing out of their stars if they are to come back and upset the top-seeded Heat in this round.

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