I watched Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals: Presented by YoutubeTV, at my buddy's house with like 8-10 people, depending on the time of the night. Mixing it up with a bunch of bros like God intended; it was a blast. There was enough shit talk and reefer for two dozen grown men and the potential for it to be a fantastic prelude to Summer. Sure, it was a pretty back and forth game, but it felt like the C's would find a way like Drake Bell to pull things out. Then they decided to stop playing basketball and ruined the weekend.
Now the 2022 NBA Finals: Presented by YoutubeTV, are tied 2-2, and Golden State holds all the momentum with tonight's Game 5 on their home court. I am nervous about our Boston Celtics and the shoulder of Jayson Tatum. I don't think it's a stretch to say he's banged up and not in a fun way like 8-10 bros muckin it up on a Friday night.
Not that JJ Redick needs anymore internet praise, but he's right. Tatum isn't playing well. I love him and don't want to ever see him in another uniform, but the fact of the matter is he's the reason the Celtics aren't up 3-1. Sure, they were able to survive his 3/17 stinker in Game 1 (mainly in part to his game-high 13 assists), but JT just isn't able to finish right now. There's a lid on the hoop. He's ice-cold. Listen to the numbers JJ gives you; if you're a green bleeder, you'll want to throw up.
He's clanking lay-ups, and bricking wide-open looks. He may be a superstar on paper, but his play says otherwise. Shrinking in clutch time like your dick in the ocean. Through four games, he's shooting a historically bad 34.1% with 14 turnovers.
You heard JJ; in the second half, he's even worse. I don't want to make excuses and say it's the shoulder, but you gotta hope it's something physical because if it's mental, that's not the "Mamba Mentality."
I recently saw a video on Twitter where Shannon Sharpe said there's a seat at the superstar table with Tatum's name on it; he just has to claim it (or something along those lines). If he figures shit out in hopefully the next two games, three if necessary, the seat will be his. That's the beautiful part of this. We know Tatum has that next level in him. We've seen it multiple times during this run, especially Game 6 in Milwaukee. He just needs to put two solid games together where he isn't throwing up Russell Westbrook shooting nights.
The great thing is, as shitty as losing Game 4 felt; it's still only 2-2. The Celtics aren't behind in this series or on the brink of elimination; they're very much alive. This playoff run's been full of emotional ups and downs, like a rollercoaster. An emotional rollercoaster, if you will (wow, how's nobody ever thought of that phrase until this very moment; 3:37 pm EST?). I was convinced we were dead after Game 5 vs. Milwaukee. The C's beat the Heat despite going 1-2 at home. All season long, right when the C's looked dead, they were brought back to life like Evanescence's signature song. How many times do we need to mention that they were 18-21 in January?! I remember watching this team lose back-to-back to the fucking Wizards. Think about where they came to get to this point. Yes, losing Game 4 fucking SUCKED and should've never happened. But we're still in this bitch. They can still win this series. The C's have been resilient AF. They're 7-0 off a loss these playoffs and great on the road, 8-3 to this point. Right when you think they're gonna crumble, they show you what they're made of.
I'm much more of a football guy than hoop head, but the key to success in basketball isn't that much different than football. Turnovers are key. If you lose the turnover battle, you'll PROBABLY lose the contest. That's been pretty much case and point for the C's this playoff run. They're 1-6 when committing 16 or more turnovers and 13-2 when the number is 15 or below.
In my 30+ years on this planet, I've been lucky enough to witness my teams win 12 professional championships. While I might not fuck with some of the organizations like I once did (burn in hell, John Henry), let me tell you, it's rarely easy to win it all. Look at all the past Boston champions since 2001. None were easy.
It's never easy to get a parade.
If the C's want to win it all, they can't be like me and sulk after a tough loss, and to their credit, they didn't, but these opportunities don't present themselves every year. Yes, the Jays are young, and some other key pieces are locked up for a couple more years, but the East is loaded. Giannis isn't going anywhere. The Heat will be back. Who knows what's up with Philly and Brooklyn?
Steph Curry is phenomenal, but after him and Klay, the Warriors are not that crazy of a team. It's not 2017. The Celtics are a much more well-rounded roster but sometimes can be a little too soft for my liking. They aren't killers and aren't clutch late in games. Are they going to bounce back again or be footnotes to the Warriors dynasty rebirth? They'll be the first ones to tell you championships aren't easy (even though they sure made it look that way in 2017 and 2018).
Tatum might be the star of this team, but he's not the only guy out there. Everybody needs to step up and play a full 48 minutes. I feel like the C's got comfortable up 6 with over seven minutes to go and then thought they could out-Warrior GSW with forced three balls. There are still over four hours to tip-off, and I'm a nervous wreck, but I believe in these guys. Of course, I took C's +140 tonight. Gun to my head, this feels like a C's win, or they get blown out. I don't see GSW winning by like 2.
Jayson Tatum's play has all the sports media talking heads saying how terrible he's been this series and deservingly so. 34.1% won't get it done. All the turnovers and disappearing late are NOT superstar moves, but he can put all that shit behind him tonight with a big, efficient game that leads to a Celtics victory. It won't be easy, but winning a ring never is. Hopefully, Steph can calm tf down from three too.