BOSTON – Brett Brown slightly shook his head when asked what he’s seen out of Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum.
“He is really good. Like, he is really good,” the 76ers coach said during Tuesday’s media availability. “He’s got a package that he shouldn’t at such a young age.
“You know, like they post him. He’ll come off and … hit spot-up threes. He’s got stuff off a live ball that has caught me off-guard where he really can dance in an isolation situation.”
The Celtics acquired the 20-year-old small forward with the third overall in June’s NBA draft. The Sixers exchanged that pick and either a 2018 or 2019 protected first-round pick in order to move up two spots to select Markelle Fultz first overall. Brown has opted not to play Fultz in the past six playoff games.
#Sixers coach Brett Brown on #Celtics rookie @jaytatum0: “He is really good. He is really good. He’s got a package that he shouldn’t at such a young age.” Here’s more of what Brown said: pic.twitter.com/aEXjFuKRun
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) May 8, 2018
Tatum had 20 points, four rebounds, four assists and one block in Monday’s 103-92 Game 4 Eastern Conference semifinal loss to the Sixers at Well Fargo Center. It was his franchise-rookie record sixth straight postseason game with at least 20 points.
“How we stop him is completely related to team,” Brown said of Wednesday’s Game 5 at the TD Garden. “It’s completely, I think, related to schematic stuff with some of the sets that they feature him in.”
The Sixers might put 6-foot-2 T.J. McConnell on the 6-foot-8 Tatum. They might go length with 6-10 Ben Simmons or 6-9 Robert Covington on him.
“But what you should hear the loudest is he’s really good,” Brown said.
Ersan Ilyasova over Amir Johnson
Amir Johnson has been Joel Embiid’s backup center for most of the season. However, reserve power forward Ersan Ilyasova got the Sixers backup center minutes in Game 4. Johnson didn’t play.
“With Ersan, it’s no secret the reason we do that is to stretch the floor,” Brown said. “Maybe hunt some threes a little bit easier.”
But the three-point threat scored six points while making just 2 of 7 shots — missing both of his threes — on Monday. As a team, the Sixers made just 7 of 26 three-pointers during that game. They are only shooting 29.5 percent on three-pointers in the series.
“I credit Boston’s defense,” Brown said. “They’ve really done a good job of taking away our threes or guarding our threes. We really haven’t jumped into this series at all shooting the ball well from the three-point line.
“The Ersan part is mostly in relation to scoring and threes.”
Shane Larkin injury
A hard screen set by Embiid in the first quarter of Game 4 sent Celtics guard Shane Larkin to the floor and out of the game with a left shoulder injury.
Following the game, Stevens said that Larkin would undergo tests and evaluation once the team was back in Boston.
His status for Game 5 remained uncertain. Stevens said that an update would probably be provided Wednesday morning, after the team’s shootaround.
Calm before the storm
Tuesday was a relaxed day for the Sixers here. The low-minute guys participated in a workout at Harvard. Then the entire team met for a team meeting and video session at 5:30 p.m. Afterward, they had a team dinner.
“I like the team part of just being with them,” Brown said, “have a nice dinner and enjoy each other’s company and get ready to play [Wednesday].”