BOSTON — Celtics followers taunted Philadelphia 76ers ahead Ben Simmons with a “not a rookie” chant within the second half of Monday night time’s Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal sequence at TD Garden, then got here again with a “he’s a rookie” chant whereas Boston’s Jayson Tatum was on the charity stripe later within the sport.
Tatum, the No. three decide within the 2017 draft, scored a postseason career-high 28 factors over 40 minutes because the injury-ravaged Celtics emerged with a 117-101 triumph. Tatum joined Larry Bird as the one Celtics rookies over the previous 50 postseasons with 25 or extra factors in a playoff sport. Bird did it 3 times.
Simmons, the No. 1 decide within the 2016 draft who missed all of the 2016-17 season, completed with 18 factors, seven rebounds and 6 assists over 42 minutes.
“I don’t care. It doesn’t affect me at all,” stated Simmons, downplaying the barbs about whether or not he should qualify as a rookie this season.
For his half, Tatum stated he did not hear the chants about Simmons. He additionally downplayed being hyped to play towards one other prime candidate for rookie of the 12 months.
“At this point, I’m just focused on winning, not really matchups,” Tatum stated. ” Just win. It’s really a team thing right now.”
Pressed on whether or not he feels he is a greater rookie than Simmons, Tatum smiled and paused for a second earlier than providing solely, “No comment.”
The Celtics have performed this postseason with out All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Then second-year ahead Jaylen Brown was unable to go Monday attributable to a hamstring pressure suffered in Boston’s Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.
The lack of typical offensive output meant gamers like Tatum needed to step up. He related on eight of his 16 photographs and was 11-of-12 on the free throw line. Tatum was plus-18 general throughout his ground time.
“Just be aggressive, especially with JB out,” Tatum stated. “That’s 20 points sitting on the bench, and we try to make up for that.”
Al Horford provided his take.
“Jayson, he’s starting to figure it out,” Horford stated. “He’s understanding what he needs to do, and it’s great to see for our team.”
Sixers coach Brett Brown provided excessive reward for Tatum, a participant that Philadelphia handed on after buying and selling with Boston to safe the No. 1 decide in final summer season’s draft.
“I thought [Tatum] was great. I think he’s had an exceptional year,” Brown stated. “He’s got a bounce. When I watch him, he plays sort of older than his résumé suggests. He’s got a lot of bounce and a lot of game. I thought tonight he scored in a variety of ways. I thought he was excellent.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens supplied his evaluation.
“I thought [Tatum] was really good, really consistent,” Stevens stated. “He made some tough shots but also got to the rim, made some great plays for us. He got to the line, which we needed, with his drives. I thought he had a good game.”