BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics forward Jayson Tatum practiced on Thursday and is good to go for Friday night’s must-win Game 3 against the Brooklyn Nets.
“I’m fine. Got it checked out, got it looked at. I’m good,” Tatum said following Thursday’s practice. “I’m ready for [Friday].”READ MORE: Celtics Suspend Marcus Smart For Friday's Preseason Finale For Reportedly Missing Team Flight
There was some doubt that Tatum would be able to play after he was poked in the eye in the second half of Tuesday night’s Game 2 loss in Brooklyn. Tatum suffered the injury while he and Kevin Durant went for the ball after the Celtics forward missed a layup.
He was checked out on the floor and spent a long time in the Boston locker room. Tatum did return to the Boston bench later in the game, but did not play.READ MORE: Celtics' Al Horford Tests Positive For COVID-19
Tatum ended up playing just 21 minutes, finishing his night with nine points off 3-for-12 shooting. The Nets won 130-108 to take a 2-0 series lead.
Stevens said Thursday that the Celtics have to play a whole lot better on defense to get back in the series, but that the team’s spacing around Tatum would help their star player get easier looks on offense.MORE NEWS: Celtics' Jaylen Brown Tests Positive For COVID-19
“When he drives, they’re sending a lot of help. This is likely going to be a scenario where he’ll find his spots and get his opportunities,” said Stevens. “But it’s also going to be really important that we space well around him so he can make the next right play. Someone else is going to have to open it up for him.”