Jeff Van Gundy wasn’t buying Jayson Tatum’s performance.
With 5:32 left in the fourth quarter, Tatum went crashing to the floor after getting tied up with Victor Oladipo, who ripped the ball out of his hands. The Celtics’ star was withering in pain and grabbing his right shoulder before being escorted to the locker room — only to reappear minutes later.
Tatum returned to the Celtics bench with 4:01 remaining in regulation and quickly checked back into the game with the Heat leading 93-89. “They must have good water in the back,” Van Gundy quipped.
It was a redux of Paul Pierce’s wheelchair moment, minus the prop.
Tatum didn’t play like somebody nursing an injury when he came back, diving for a loose ball and also taking part in a tip-off. On a Miami possession later in the quarter, he plowed into Bam Adebayo while trying to circumvent the big man’s screen.
That’s when Van Gundy went all-in.
“Man, his shoulder must be feeling so much better,” he said. “He just drove through a screen with his right shoulder, the one that he crumpled to the floor with.”
The performance was an appropriate capper for Tatum’s embarrassing performance Saturday. He went just 3-for-14 from the field and turned the ball over six times. P.J. Tucker completely outplayed him.
The only thing worse than Tatum’s play was his acting.