Tatum: I was a ‘shell of myself’ after hurting ankle in Game 7 loss

Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum said an early injury affected his play in Boston’s Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.

Tatum suffered a sprained ankle on the opening play of Monday night’s 103-84 defeat while attempting a layup over Heat guard Gabe Vincent. Tatum played 42 minutes, finishing with 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting in the loss.

“It was just frustrating that I was just kind of a shell of myself,” he said, according to The Athletic’s Jay King.

Tatum added that “it was tough to move” after suffering the injury, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

The Celtics fell one game short of being the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit.

In the wake of Tatum’s early injury, wing Jaylen Brown shouldered the offensive load. He finished with 19 points on 8-of-23 shooting, adding eight rebounds, five assists, and a game-high eight turnovers in 43 minutes.

“Tough luck with JT going down,” Brown said, according to King. “We tried to compensate, and it just didn’t work the way we thought it would. A lot of that is on me. So I just got to take it on the chin, and it is what it is.”

Despite the loss, Tatum says the Celtics are still capable of winning a championship.

“We’ve shown that we can get there. … We know we had a special opportunity this year,” he said. “We just fell a little bit short. It’s not like we’re not capable (or) we don’t have the talent. We do. Just didn’t go our way this year.”

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