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June 4, 2022

Jayson Tatum

Boston Celtics

Practice Day

Q. Jayson, you got to know Brittney Griner this past stuff with the Olympic stuff. How well did you get to know her, and what is your view of what she's going through right now? I know you guys are wearing those shirts today and it's all within that context.

JAYSON TATUM: You know, being over there with the Olympics, obviously it was during COVID and so we couldn't really go out and see other events and things like that. So after the games, after practice, we would be in the hospitality room, men and women. We would be in there, playing cards, karaoke, things like that, video games. Great person to be around. She just enlightens the entire room with her personality.

So it's extremely tough seeing what she's going through. I know everybody sees and feels that, and obviously we're all together in support trying to bring her back to her family and things like that. Yeah, wearing those shirts today in support of her.

Q. When you have a tough shooting night, do you have a temptation to come out in the next game and try to get going early? How do you respond to that in the next game, and how do you fight the bad habits that might creep in after a game like that?

JAYSON TATUM: What do you mean, bad habits?

Q. Just any potential for, like, maybe you want to shoot when you probably should pass or anything like that, or does that even come into play?

JAYSON TATUM: I don't think so. I had more assists than points last game. So I feel like I made the right play more often than not. You know, it's not much to overthink. I feel like it's a lot of shots, the open shots that I miss more often than not that I make.

So it's not something that I'm losing sleep over. You know, we won. That was most important, right. It's the Finals. That's all that matters. Obviously, I know I've got to play better. I can't shoot like that every game and hopefully we win. I expect to play better shooting-wise, but just impacting the game in different ways to do my part and let's get a win. I will continue to do that. Just read the game, read each play. That's how I kind of approach next game.

Q. Along those lines, when you had some tough shooting nights for the most part, you bounce back right away. And even postgame when we talked to you, you shrug it off: I know this isn't me, and it's not going to affect me. What's the key for you and how have you done that well to move on so quickly and what have you done to clear your mind and become so effective so soon again?

JAYSON TATUM: Once you've done something before, you know how to respond. I've had some bad shooting nights in the NBA. So it's like, I've been here before. I know what to do next game. I think a lot of it is mental. You don't let it creep into your mind. I can't do nothing about what happened last game. I missed those shots and it is what it is. It's all about how to prepare and get ready for the next one.

It was not so much about me and what I need to do. It's about what we need to do and how we need to be prepared, the adjustments that they are going to make and how they are going to respond. We need to be ready and not relax just because we're up 1-0.

Q. For Ime to get to this position as a coach, as a player, he started as a guy with a 10-day contract and had to really work for a spot in the NBA. How does that inform the way he coaches?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, he's done a great job. Talking about where he started, 10-day contracts and things like that. He's obviously had to work his way to get here, and he carries that sense of toughness with him and does instill that into the group every day.

Proud of him. I'm happy that we have him as a coach. He's a much better coach than he was a basketball player, and I think he knows that, as well.

Q. Al said a few minutes ago that the best defense he played on, he thought when he was is in Boston, was your rookie year, 2017-2018. What makes this defense in particular so special compared to the ones you've played on before?

JAYSON TATUM: Until then, that was the best defensive team that I played on. We had Al back then and Baynes, right, how much a force he was in the paint.

I think what's different now is Smart is the Defensive Player of the Year. Not to say he wasn't a great defensive player, but he's gotten better, as well as I have. We have Rob, and J.B. is a much better defender. A lot of those core guys just got older and more experienced. That was a great defensive team. I think it makes us a better defensive team now that the individual defenders are better, obviously, with the different concepts that we instill in our defense now.

Q. You guys have talked all throughout the playoffs that you have struggled in the third quarters, and Golden State has been dominant in them. What do you have to do differently to not have what happened in Game 1, where you had to dig out of that hole in the fourth, carry over to Game 2 and beyond in the series?

JAYSON TATUM: I say it all time. We've just got to be more aware. It's one thing to talk about it, but we've got to go out there and do it and just not ease our way into the third quarter that we do a lot of the times.

Yeah, I think we just can't ease our way into the third quarter and wait to get warm and wait until we're down X amount of points to be like, Oh, (expletive), we got to figure it out and start playing faster and things like that. We've got to be more aware of that to start the third quarter.

Q. You've all talked a lot, you, Jaylen and Marcus, about being with Al the first time around, and how excited and happy you were for him to get a chance to be in the Finals. It's been a tough couple years for him bouncing around, and now he's back here. What has led to everybody being so into that moment for him and being so excited for him?

JAYSON TATUM: Al is like the best teammate ever, the ultimate professional. You know, obviously at 35, just how he's performing, that's a testament to how he takes care of his body, how he prepares every day. And Al is the same guy today that he was in my rookie year, welcoming everybody, doing what's best for the team and sacrificing touches for himself or whatever. Al just wants to win.

You know, just to see how happy he was to get to this point -- I felt like I had been playing forever, finally getting over that hump, and it's like, I've only been doing this for five years. It's his 15th year. So I can only imagine what he was feeling getting to this moment.

Q. Did you feel the Warriors' strategy was to actively make you a passer?

JAYSON TATUM: I don't know about actively. I'm certain that they don't want me to just play one-on-one and things like that that. Show a crowd, bring help and things like that.

I feel like I did get a lot of open looks just from kick-outs and things like that. But I'm sure part of the game plan, making me a playmaker and not letting me be comfortable, it's just something I feel like every team has more or less been doing throughout the playoffs. So it's not necessarily something new.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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