Basketball Intelligence for 12/14/23
A game-ball brouhaha, Giannis' big night, and more!
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ATL: Hawks extend losing streak to five with loss to Toronto Raptors
Joe Schmidt, Peachtree Hoops
ATL: On Hawks’ problems, Trae Young and whether an unproven front office can fix things
Jeff Schultz, The Athletic
ATL: Hawks can’t stop Raptors’ third-quarter 3-point barrage, drop fifth straight
Lauren Williams, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
BOS: Is something behind Joe Mazzulla’s recent praise for Jayson Tatum? And six other Celtics thoughts.
Adam Himmelsbach, Boston Globe
When Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla was asked about Kristaps Porzingis’s strong second half in the win over the Cavaliers on Tuesday night, he shifted the conversation toward the contributions of stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
This has been a fairly common approach during Brown’s uneven start, but the unprompted praise for Tatum has been a relatively new development.
“Tonight’s another example of success looking different for everybody, and everyone’s talking about KP’s second half,” Mazzulla said. “I thought Jayson’s ability to dominate … [it] was one of his most well-rounded games which he played, and he had an impact on every level of the game, whether it was rebounding, defense, deflections, threes, scoring in the paint, assists, and passes.”
Mazzulla’s overarching point is that Tatum should not simply be judged on his shooting numbers and point totals. On this night, he was 7 for 19 with four turnovers.
But even some of the other metrics Mazzulla chose to highlight were not exactly sparkling. Tatum had two deflections, tied for the fewest among starters. He did not recover any loose balls. He contested four shots, tied for fifth with Luke Kornet, who played just eight minutes. Tatum made just 2 of 9 3-pointers, dropping his season percentage to a career-low 34.9. All 10 of his rebounds came on the defensive end.