Luckily, the 2023 All-Star Game MVP has quite the resume this season and is allowed a down game or two, especially when he does other things to help the team win. That was evident in Saturday night’s clutch game-winning shot against the Philadelphia 76ers, a game in which he struggled shooting the ball most of the night.
That wasn’t the case, however, in Monday night’s horrendous loss to the New York Knicks, in which Tatum scored just 14 points in the team’s 109-94 loss at Madison Square Garden.
It was a game in which the C’s were without Jaylen Brown, but with everyone else available, including Tatum, it was a game the team should’ve won. Instead, they went cold from beyond the three-point stripe, fell behind by double digits multiple times and just couldn’t find that mojo to make a complete comeback.
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has been cold post All-Star Game
Speaking of mojo, Tatum really hasn’t been on his game since that 55-point performance in the All-Star Game. He did put up 31 points against the Indiana Pacers, but that MVP candidate the Celtics really need down the stretch has yet to show up. In going just 6-for-18 on Monday night, including 1-for-9 from beyond the arc, the MVP type of performance the team needed with Brown out just didn’t happen.
So, is there a reason to worry?
Veteran big man Al Horford isn’t worried and knows Tatum’s current struggles is more aligned to the long marathon that is the 82-game NBA season.
"“It’s a long season,” Horford said, as transcribed by MassLive.com. “Jayson’s been playing, as we all know, at an MVP level for most of the season. If you can go all 82 playing like that, that’s just tough. There’s going to be ups and downs. He’s the last guy I’m worried about.”"
History has proven what Horford said in Tatum’s young career, but with the Milwaukee Bucks now overtaking the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, the pressure is really on and now is the time to really shine and show the league what he is all about…just like he did at the All-Star Game.
In staking his claim as the face of the franchise, it’s now more about how he bounces back from the last two games. With a long road trip looming, the Celtics need that special force known as Jayson Tatum to get that mojo back and guide this team to new heights. Maybe a little home cooking will be just the right remedy.
"“Get back home,” Tatum said when asked about his cold stretch. “I haven’t been home in two weeks. I miss my bed. See Deuce. Just get back home, get some home-cooked meals and get ready for Wednesday.”"
The Celtics will return home for the first time since before the All-Star break where the Cleveland Cavaliers will be waiting. Best believe, the Celtics will need that MVP mojo going up against Donovan Mitchell and a hungry Cavs team.