Skip Bayless on Celtics’ Jayson Tatum: ‘Are we sure he’s not making a late case for Rookie of the Year?’

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Skip Bayless reflects on the Boston Celtics' comeback victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder with Shannon Sharpe. Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum put up 23 points and 11 rebounds in the 100-99 win, but was that enough to re-enter the Rookie of the Year race?

- Now back to the biggest threat to Golden State in the west-- the Oklahoma City Thunder.


- I love this team. And I've told you all year, this team has notoriously played down to the level of its competition. And last night's competition was wounded. There was no Kyrie and no Marcus Smart and no Jaylen Brown and no Daniel Theis. Daniel Theis is a good player. You didn't get that.

But I'm going to bring it up again. So there are four key components missing from Boston. And Oklahoma City did what my Spurs almost did against the Golden State Warriors a couple of nights ago, where at San Antonio they almost blew the game. They were down after three quarters to a team without Steph, without Klay, without KD, and without Draymond, who got hurt in that game.

So it happens because you're trying to will the ball in, because you say, we got to beat these guys. And then the shots don't fall. But the irony of that is, down the stretch of this game, Oklahoma City didn't just play OK. Oklahoma City played great down the stretch until the last few seconds. But look what happened. They're down 82-81 with four minutes left and Paul George nails the big three.

And then Melo hit a big three. Then Melo hit another big three. And then Corey Brewer, with Melo sit-- Melo hit him in the corner. And Corey Brewer just rose up and nailed it-- another big three. And then Steven Adams stepped to the free throw line with 1:23 left-- boom, boom. Made both of them. And I'm thinking, OK, that should be enough.


- And then Steven Adams with 52 seconds left steps to the free throw line, makes the first one. I think, well, that should be it, because now you're up four. And he missed the second one. So now the floodgate is a little open. And here it comes. Then Russell Westbrook made two free throws with 24 seconds left. And then of course, Russell Westbrook missed a free throw and made a free throw. So the gate stays just a touch open.

And then Carmelo Anthony, who I consider a real clutch shooter-- I agree with you, he's had some free throw demons this year. He steps to the line. And can we see the first one, he leaves it woefully short. And then you can just see his mind working. Here's the first one.


- That's way short. Now he says, I've got to overcompensate. I got to make sure I get it up. And it just completely back irons. You don't see good shooters back iron a free throw, except for LeBron.

SHANNON SHARPE: My guy would never done that.

- Yes he would. He does that all the time. He LeBricks. But Melo is not a back iron free throw shooter. Where he just said, I'm going to make sure I get this up. And those are-- if you make one of those free throws, you're going to win the game. Now let's credit Boston. Because you want to talk about a valiant effort, because every time I look up, Jayson Tatum's making another play. Or maybe it's Greg Monroe. Or maybe it's Rozier rising up to shoot the three.

SHANNON SHARPE: Well, the thing was, Skip, is that when they were getting these threes, they were allowing Boston to come down and get layups right away immediately.

SKIP BAYLESS: They were.

- So they were basically taking like four to six seconds off the clock. And they had the ball in the basket. They stopped playing defense. Like OK, you're down by this much. As long as we make our free throws-- But here's the problem. You get shaky at the free throw line, and they-- Russ, you can't keep backing up. You can't keep retreating and let the guy pull up with a three. You can't do that.

SKIP BAYLESS: I think they thought they had closed the deal. And then it wasn't closed. And then speaking of, you cannot let them make a last second three, because it's a two point game. So can we see what Marcus Morris pulled off? This is as great a last second three as I've ever seen on degree of difficulty, because Paul George is running at him.

And he has the presence-- like here we go, kick out. Look, he faked Paul George off his feet and had to dribble right. And then Steven Adams, at seven feet tall, rises up over him and gets a hand. He contests it. And Marcus Moore still drained it. And I'm not-- you know, I never considered him like the greatest three point shooter. You know, he's a big man. He's not really my job title of three point shooter.


- And he makes that shot? And, of course, Bret Stephens said after the game, that's-- he's like, that's a fall away shot. Bret Stephens said, well, they kind of blew the play. But Jayson Tatum made the play by getting in the lane.


- And so I would like to remind-- what a shot that is. Wow. That's a big time clutch three.

- I know a guy. But he doesn't step to his right. He likes to shake his feet and step to the left.

SKIP BAYLESS: Who is this?

- You know who it is.

SKIP BAYLESS: Oh, James Harden.

- No, don't do that, Skip. Don't do that.

SKIP BAYLESS: Well, you know, I just said something sacrilegious.

- Yeah, exactly. The man upstairs knows--

- You just said don't do that. You cannot do that.

- Don't put James Harden and that guy--

SKIP BAYLESS: OK now I'm going to say something good about Jayson Tatum. Are we sure he's not making a late case for Rookie of the Year in the National Basketball Association--

- Over who? Over Ben Simmons?

- Yes.

SHANNON SHARPE: Skip, you better stop [INAUDIBLE]

- Jayson Tatum is the real deal. Here of late, every time I look up, he's got 23 more points. He had 23 and 11 last night. His averages don't look great for the year. He's 14 and 5. But he has made a late run with a beat up, wounded team. I got to tell you, he is--

- I bet Ben Simmons wins-- I bet Ben Simmons--

SKIP BAYLESS: Oh, he will.

- Wins the rookie of the year unanimously.

- He probably will. I'm just asking everyone to please notice what Jayson Tatum is doing for this team. He is special.