Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (L) and Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (R) each scored a game-high 34 points, while Celtics forward Jayson Tatum scored just 13 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday in Boston. Photo by Amanda Sabga/EPA-EFE
June 17 (UPI) -- Boston Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown said a lack of "poise" and "immaturity" were among the major factors behind their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors.
The turnover prone Celtics' season ended with a 103-90 setback in Game 6 on Thursday in Boston. Brown matched NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry's 34 points, while Tatum scored just 13. Tatum, a first-team All-NBA selection, scored just two points in the second half.
"I think just our level of poise at times throughout this series and previous series, myself included," Tatum told reporters, when asked how the Celtics can improve. "Taking care of the ball and things like that.
"But it's easy to look back and see all the things you could have done better. We tried. I know that for a fact."
Tatum averaged a career-high 26.9 points. 8.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.9 turnovers per game in the regular season. The three-time All-Star and 2021-22 Eastern Conference Finals MVP posted 21.5 points, 7.0 assists and 6.8 rebounds per game in the NBA Finals.
He also averaged 3.8 turnovers and watched his shooting percentage fall by nearly 10% compared to the regular season. Tatum was swarmed by Warriors defenders and was a non-factor for major portions of the best-of-seven series.
Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Tatum needs to "learn and understand who he is in this league."
"You're an All-Star, All-NBA First Team guy for a reason," Udoka said of Tatum. "This is only the start of how you're going to be guarded and the attention you're going to draw.
"One thing that he's always done throughout the season was seeing multiple different coverages and figured it out. He did that throughout the first few series. This was one a rough one. They are a very consistent team that did some things to limit him and make others pay.
That consistency led to a fourth championship in eight years for the Warriors and added to their dynasty. Curry and fellow veterans Klay Thompson and Draymond Green just finished their 10th season as teammates. Brown and Tatum just finished their fifth season together.
Curry and Green logged 57 and 59 turnovers, respectively, this postseason. Thompson totaled 29 giveaways. Tatum set an NBA record with 100 postseason turnovers.
The Celtics, who logged 22 giveaways Thursday, were 1-8 this postseason when they totaled at least 16 turnovers. The extra possessions ignited the Warriors' sharpshooters like gasoline dousing a flame.
"We gave them 20-plus [points from] turnovers and 20-plus on second chances," Udoka said. "We didn't really give ourselves a chance."
Tatum, 24, is signed through 2024-25, but can accept a $37 million player option in 2025-26. Brown, 25, is signed through 2023-24. The 2020-21 All-Star led the Celtics with 23.5 points per game in the NBA Finals.
Celtics starting guard Marcus Smart, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and center Robert Williams are signed through 2025-26. Fellow big man Al Horford, a 15-year veteran, is only signed through next season. Celtics guard Derrick White is under contract for the next three seasons.
"They won and we lost," Brown said. "We did it to ourselves. For sure, we had opportunities to go up and win. I guess we've shown our immaturity at times, and it stings.
"Still a young group. Still got a lot to learn."