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May 21, 2023

Jayson Tatum

Boston Celtics

Game 3: Postgame

Miami Heat 128, Boston Celtics 102

Q. Jayson, is there anything about the Miami Heat team that has surprised you during this series? And as the best player on the team, what can you do on and off the court to change the momentum of the series?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, I think just, as tough as it is, as tonight was, we've just got to try to move on. Prepare, get ready, practice, film and stuff for tomorrow.

Obviously, we're in a tough position, but we've just got to have some pride, bounce back, and just be better come Tuesday.

Q. It appeared like you guys gave up in the third quarter once they made that big run. What happened out there emotionally? Are you guys disconnected? Is there something going on in the locker room or something that you're sensing that's slipping away, because it seemed like you guys let go of the rope tonight?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, tonight was tough. I think from the beginning of the game, we were turning the ball over. We didn't shoot the ball well. They shot the ball extremely well. Just kind of felt like we never recovered, honestly. That's on all of us as a unit. We didn't play well at all.

Obviously by the score, it showed.

Q. You and Jaylen combined to shoot 12-of-35 from the field. The team shot 40 percent from the field. How tough have the Heat and their defensive principles made it on you guys in a game like this with your backs against the wall?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, I didn't shoot the ball well at all tonight. But I think we got some open looks, coming off the pick-and-roll, getting doubled, hitting over the top, playing four-on-three. We just didn't shoot the ball well at all. We couldn't hit anything.

Give them credit; they're a really good defensive team. They play hard, they communicate. But we had a lot of open looks tonight that we normally make.

Q. It seems like they've just been playing at a different speed than you guys the first three games. Have you guys maybe underestimated how much effort they were going to put forth and how well they were going to play?

JAYSON TATUM: I don't think so. We're familiar with this team. We've played them the third time now in the playoffs. We know how hard they play and the pace that they move.

The first two games, we've had double-digit leads. We played well for most of it. We've just had a couple minutes here and there that really hurt us.

Obviously tonight we didn't play well at all. But I don't think we're surprised by the pace that they played at.

Q. Do you guys think you can make history and come back and win this series? How confident are you?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah. We'd better be, right? But we know it's tough. We know we're not looking down the road, we're just looking to get ready, to bounce back and play better come Tuesday, try to get a win.

Q. It seemed like the officiating kind of bothered you guys to a point. Obviously, you missed a lot of shots in the game, but when the effort went away for you guys in the third quarter, how surprising was that for you in a game of this magnitude that you kind of let go of the rope like that?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, just being transparent, it's unfortunate. We obviously wanted to come out and perform better, play better, have a different outcome, or at least give ourselves a chance. You know, it's tough. For whatever reason, we didn't have it tonight.

At this point of the season, you don't want to say that, but that's on us. As a unit, we didn't play well.

Q. Jayson, the season is not over yet, but the mentality for Game 4, maybe another plan?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah. Definitely play better than we did tonight, and have some pride, obviously, and believe that, we've just got to win on Tuesday. That's just the message, the mentality that we have is get a win on Tuesday. We'll figure the rest out from there.

Q. You guys have obviously been good in these situations throughout, like even your time here, the backs against the wall, not being rattled at road games. Where do you think things went south in this one, and did this one feel any different coming into it?

JAYSON TATUM: Coming into it, no. There's two sides to this. They played well tonight. They came out of the gates firing. They shot the ball extremely well from the field and from the three.

We didn't, and just kind of like a snowball effect.

Normally we respond when teams go on a run. We respond, but tonight shots weren't falling, and I think we let that affect us a little too much, honestly.

Q. Joe said he thought that some of your defensive identity has been lost. Where have you seen the slippage in that, and why haven't you guys been able to rely on the defense that really carried you to the Finals last season?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, I think we've just got to be connected more. Five guys all on the same page, competing at the same level, talking, and just being there for one another. Every possession is not perfect. You're going to get beat. Mistakes happen. But we just have to do a better job of being there for one another, having each other's back, and just being a little bit more connected on defense.

Q. The narrative over the next 48 hours will be that you guys quit and you guys are not the team that people thought you were and you're not the star, all of that. How do you ignore that over the next two days and try to focus on winning a game after such a poor performance?

JAYSON TATUM: I deleted Twitter from my phone to start the playoffs. Honestly, I haven't seen anything good, bad or indifferent since Game 1 against the Hawks. I'm certain after every game you win, you're the best player and the best team, and when you lose, you're not the star and the team is not good enough.

I'm certain there will be some of that, but out of sight, out of mind. You don't see it, because that's not what's important. What's important is the guys in the locker room, teammates, coaches, and we're all in this together just trying to figure it out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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