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Tatum's game draws comparison to Pierce

Boston Herald

July 09. 2017 10:01PM
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum goes up for a reverse layup against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of Saturday night's NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas. (USA TODAY SPORTS)

LAS VEGAS — Walter McCarty, as someone who played with Paul Pierce, is as good an authority as anyone to compare a young player with the impending Hall of Famer.

And what the summer league coach for the Celtics saw in rookie Jayson Tatum Saturday night looked awfully familiar.

“He reminds me a lot of Paul Pierce. He just has that ability to be cool,” McCarty said after watching the Duke product rally from a six-point first half to score 21 points after the break. “He doesn’t get frantic or nervous, lets the game come to him. He has a quiet swag about him. Really fun to watch when he does it. I get excited.”

Tatum finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds as the Celtics escaped a poor start and a 13-point deficit to win this much-hyped Las Vegas Summer League game against the Lakers, 86-81, in front of a heavily partisan and loud Los Angeles crowd.

After a rocky start against the Los Angeles Clippers the previous game, Lonzo Ball, the No. 2 overall pick of the Lakers, was much more on point against the C’s with an equilateral triple-double of 11 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds.

As for Tatum, he heard the Pierce comparison and reacted with the same calm demeanor he displays on the floor.

“Paul Pierce is definitely one of my favorite players — just his ability and his footwork, his ability to create his own shot,” Tatum said. “He’s not the most athletic guy and neither am I. The way he found ways to score at a high level consistently, that’s what I look at.”

Ojeleye a force with 3’s

Semi Ojeleye had a breakout game of sorts, scoring 19 points, the bulk of it on 5-of-9 shooting on 3-pointers. He hit four of those 3’s in the second half.

“Semi has been really good,” said McCarty. “We’re trying to get him to come out of his shell more. Lot of ability. He can guard 4 and 5. We just wanted to give him a lot of actions, and told him to make the right play.”


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