Sportress of Blogitude

Jayson Tatum ‘more relaxed,’ ‘more confident’ ahead of facing Cavs

Sunday kicks off yet another playoff bout between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, this time with a berth in the NBA Finals on the line. The 2017-18 NBA season began with these two teams expected to be in this spot come May.

Despite the Celtics losing Gordon Hayward opening night and losing Kyrie Irving for the season, the team still remains four games away from the Finals; mostly due to the accelerated growth of guard Terry Rozier and rookie Jayson Tatum.

The Celtics may be battered and young, but nevertheless are certainly ready for the challenge of facing LeBron James.

“I knew things were different right away after that game,” Tatum said. “With one of our best players getting hurt, it meant there were more responsibilities I had to take on.

“But there’s no better way to start your career than by playing probably the best guy in the league. I mean, I was still in awe of other guys, but I’m glad I got that out of the way early.”

“I’m excited,” said Tatum. “It’s a great opportunity for us as a team, just trying to keep proving people wrong.

“I’m a lot more relaxed, a lot more confident. I’ve got the speed and the pace of the game down a lot more. My understanding of the game is a lot better today than it was the first game.”

Tatum has been dominating the playoffs in his rookie campaign, averaging 18.8 points per game in the playoffs while plateauing by notching 23.6 points per game in a five-game series victory over Philadelphia.

Ahead of course is Boston’s biggest challenge yet. Despite The King’s recent playoff success versus Boston, the Celtics were able to “limit” LeBron to three points below his season scoring average, scoring 24.0 points per game in three match-ups.