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Celtics star Jayson Tatum denies lack of effort amid criticism for selfish play

Celtics, Ime Udoka, Jayson Tatum

The Boston Celtics have now lost back-to-back games following Friday’s 96-88 defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. It was another disappointing loss for the C’s who are now in possession of a 10-10 record in the East.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum produced a 24-point, 12-rebound double-double but it was another off shooting night for him as the two-time All-Star went just 9-of-23 from the field and 2-of-7 from distance.

After the game, Taytum was on the receiving end of some criticism from Celtics head coach Ime Udoka who said that he, along with Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Dennis Schroder should “learn to play together.” Udoka added that the team needs to veer away from isolation plays and that they should all avoid trying “to just get baskets for themselves.”

Boston’s lack of effort as a team was also pointed out by some of the critics following Friday’s loss to San Antonio. For his part, however, Tatum believes that his team did everything they could to try and salvage a win against the Spurs:

“There’s always people tell you should have did this, you should have did that,” Tatum said, via Mike Mavredakis of Celtics Wire. “But tonight, that wasn’t my impression from being on the floor that we took our foot off the gas, but if that’s how it seems I guess it’ll be it that. It’s not how it felt, everybody out there gave it their all tonight.”

Tatum also went on to say that in his mind, the biggest factor that doomed the Celtics was the fact that they just couldn’t make their shots despite getting good looks:

“You always can say we can play better right?” Tatum stated. “Obviously, we could, we can. We make a lot more shots, more easy ones. Myself or everybody down the line wishes they had some shots back that they would normally make that answer would be yes as well.

“Realistically, I think down that stretch we was one score and a stop away from kind of like really really taking control of the game. We were kind of stagnant towards the end. Not sure how much we scored, if we scored, that last two or three minutes and then when they kept scoring.”

It is worth noting though that the Celtics gave up a seven-point fourth-quarter lead to the Spurs. It is true that Boston missed some good looks, but this definitely wasn’t the be-all and end-all in this stinging loss. As coach Udoka mentioned in his statement, his players need to be able to work together as a cohesive unit. Apart from Schroder who joined the team as a free agent during the offseason, this lineup has been playing with each other for several years now so, at this point, there really is no excuse for a lack of chemistry.

For a second there, it felt like the Celtics had already figured things out. They were coming off a three-game winning streak from last week, which includes a 130-108 blowout win against their bitter rivals in the Los Angeles Lakers. Tatum and Co. saw their streak come to an end on Wednesday against Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets, which was followed by Friday’s loss to Gregg Popovich’s men.

The Celtics return to action on Sunday as they take on the Toronto Raptors, who right now, are just one game behind the Celtics at 9-11. Boston are in dire need of another W right about now.