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Celtics’ Brad Stevens reveals the reason behind Jayson Tatum’s mini-slump

Celtics, Brad Stevens, Jayson Tatum

After going on a scoring rampage since the All-Star break, Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has had a rather tame showing in the team’s last couple of games.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is not in any way alarmed by this mini-slump though, claiming that other teams’ defense have simply been more locked in on the talented 22-year-old.

“They’re physical, they’re dialed in, they’re ready to go,” Stevens described defenders on Tatum, per Sean T. McGuire of NESN.com.

“They are up on his pick-and-rolls.They’re more active with high hands and will throw an occasional blitz on the pick-and-roll, but no run and jumps like we saw with the Lakers, no super hard traps like we saw in some of the other games, including the Cavs game where he handled them really well. But the best defenders are on him in every game,” he shared.

Jayson Tatum made his first All-Star team last month and quickly proved why he earned the nod. He recorded five consecutive 30-plus point nights and scored 20-plus in 18 of his last 20 games.

The Duke product, however, came back down to earth in the Celtics’ last two games — which interestingly both resulted in losses.

Tatum shot a combined 15-for-41 from the field (36.6 percent) in the Celtics’ disappointing defeats to the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. Against OKC, he was 8-of-22 from the field.

Instead of treating it as a setback, Stevens said he used it as a challenge to Tatum to further improve his game.

“That’s why whenever I talk to him about it, I always say, ‘Doesn’t this make you respect the best even more?’ They get it every day from everybody. That’s hard,” the Celtics coach said.