Celtics Coach Explains Unusual Jayson Tatum Strategy

Tyler Maher
Joe Mazzulla explained why he used Jayson Tatum differently against the Golden State Warriors.
Joe Mazzulla explained why he used Jayson Tatum differently against the Golden State Warriors. / ASSOCIATED PRESS
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The Boston Celtics finally beat the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, outlasting them in a 121-118 overtime thriller at the TD Garden. The victory was a sweet one for the Celtics, who had dropped five of their last seven games against the Warriors dating back to last year's NBA Finals.

The win required a Herculean effort by Jayson Tatum, however, who logged a season-high 48 minutes for Boston. Notably, he did not come out of the game at all during the second half or overtime, playing the final 27 minutes without a break.

After the game, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla explained why he didn't give Tatum a breather.

According to Mazzulla, Tatum had no interest in coming out of the game, which was shaping up to be an instant classic. Mazzulla didn't want to sub out his best player, either, knowing that such a move could end up costing them the game.

Tatum had struggled mightily against Golden State during last year's playoffs and earlier this season, so he didn't want to miss the chance to stick it to them. Keeping him in the game paid off in the end, as Tatum finished with 34 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.

Thankfully, Tatum is only 24 and has young legs, so Mazzulla could afford to ride him in the second half. If Tatum was older or more injury prone, Mazzulla would have had to be more cautious with his superstar with the postseason still months away.

The Celtics are off on Friday, so Tatum can get some much-needed rest before Boston hits the road. The Celtics will look to extend their eight-game winning streak when they take on the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

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