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May 23, 2018

Jayson Tatum

Boston, Massachusetts: Gam Five

Celtics 96, Cavaliers 83

Q. Brad Stevens said that because this was a big game, he knew that you would come through, that you're a big-game player. Do you look at yourself as a big-game player, and why are you one, if that's the case?
JAYSON TATUM: I just enjoy playing in the big moments, in the big games. I think that's when I have the most fun, when things are on the line. A lot of guys stepped up tonight. I can't say it enough: We're one win away from going to The Finals, especially after everything we've been through.

Q. Nine 20-point games this postseason, fourth-most points ever by a rookie in NBA history. What's this entire playoff run been like for you?
JAYSON TATUM: It's just been a lot of fun. I've just been enjoying it, the level of play, the atmosphere. The playoffs bring the best out of people and out of players, and hopefully we keep it going.

Q. Can you just describe a little bit what has gone through your mind since Game 4? Maybe even since 3 and 4 and how the things that didn't go right there, and what it's been like for you mentally and how you got ready for this game, if you felt like you had a night like tonight in you?
JAYSON TATUM: Obviously we know we lost two in a row on the road. There are a lot of things individually and collectively that we didn't do well offensively and defensively. We watched film, we prepared and we just came out locked in on both ends of the floor from the jump.

Q. How would you describe the difference in physicality between the regular season and the postseason in terms of what guys can get away with and putting their hands on you? How big an adjustment has it been for you?
JAYSON TATUM: It's like night and day. You can play the same team anywhere from four games in a row to seven, so there are no secrets out there. We know what they're going to do; they know what we're going to do. It's the playoffs. Guys are going to be physical, especially with me being the young guy. That tends to happen a lot. It's just guys trying to be stronger and bigger than me, so they're just trying to be more physical.

Q. Just to follow up, when guys are physical like that with you, do you have to rein in your emotions, not let that get to you? Do you tell yourself, you're not going to get me off my game? What is your reaction to that?
JAYSON TATUM: I know it's coming. It's been happening all playoffs. So I've just got to fight through it, like you said, keep my composure.

Q. Just to follow up, what do you feel is the most important thing you've learned in the postseason? You probably learned a lot all season long, but what stands out for the playoffs?
JAYSON TATUM: How important every game is, every possession; the smallest things matter, especially in the playoffs; and how tough it is to close out games. We've had a couple situations this playoffs where we've been up three, let guys hit threes, go into overtime. It's tough to finish out games. You've got to give it your all until there are zero seconds left on the clock.

Q. Seemed to be a few more sets tonight where you started with the ball at the top of the key. How does that suit you, and why do you think you were effective from starting out at that position there?
JAYSON TATUM: I just talked to Coach. I knew I was going to play a little bit more in the first quarter, just to look to be more aggressive. Coach trusts that I'm going to make the right play, whether it's scoring or just finding guys out at the pick-and-rolls and just making the right decision.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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