The Brooklyn Nets will kick off their opening-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night. The Celtics may already be down an All-Star in Jaylen Brown who is out for the playoffs after having season-ending wrist surgery, but they still have an instant threat in their other All-Star forward Jayson Tatum.
It can be argued that Tatum is the sole reason that the Celtics have the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference standings. In Boston’s play-in game against the Washington Wizards, Tatum dropped a monstrous 50 points as the Celtics cruised to a 118-100 victory. Even though the Celtics are the heavy underdogs against the Nets, Tatum is excited for the opportunity to face off with Brooklyn. For the former Duke Blue Devil, this first-round series has a deeper meaning.
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Jayson Tatum Is Excited To Go Head to Head With Kevin Durant
Tatum has been a stud since he entered the league in 2017. From the moment he stepped onto the scene it was clear that he was going to be a star in the NBA. Tatum has already proved that, and the scary part is that he will only continue to get better. The instantaneous impact of the first-round draft pick could be because he came up under the tutelage of some of the NBA’s all-time greats, including Nets All-Star Kevin Durant. It is one of the reasons that the 2-time All-Star is so anxious for this matchup.
“I think it’s pretty cool. I always envisioned when I took pictures with those guys that I would one day be in their shoes. It’s cool,” Tatum said of his relationship with Durant per CBS Boston.
Tatum was an attendee at KD’s basketball camp, The Kevin Durant Skills Academy, during his sophomore year of high school. From being Durant’s camper to standing in the way of him capturing an NBA championship on one of basketball’s big stages is a surreal moment for the fourth-year forward.
“Obviously, I knew him pretty well and getting a chance to compete against him, knowing he was a guy I really, really looked up to when I was in middle school and high school, it’s cool to see those things come around full circle,” Tatum said.
Jayson Tatum at Kevin Durant’s basketball camp a few years back pic.twitter.com/k9KbCJ2Ul7
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) August 15, 2018
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Celtics Are Embracing Their Underdog Status
The Celtics are aware that many people have not given them any kind of chance to win this series against the Nets. Boston being the young, scrappy, team that they are, have learned to block out the outside noise that comes from the doubters. Celtics’ guard Marcus Smart says that he and the rest of the team are going into the series against the Nets intending to just play their brand of basketball and live with the results.
“We know the odds are against us, we know what we’re up against,” Smart told reporters on Friday per the Boston Celtics Twitter account. “This isn’t our first time being underdogs. We just got to come out there and play – all our cards on the table, no holding back.”
Marcus Smart: “We know the odds are against us, we know what we’re up against. This isn’t our first time being underdogs. We just got to come out there and play – all our cards on the table, no holding back.”
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 21, 2021
The teams that enter the playoffs with no expectations on their shoulders can often be the most dangerous. Boston is hoping that they can shock the world.
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