Before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, Jayson Tatum was averaging over 28 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field in the playoffs. But from Game 3 onward? He fell to around 23 points per game on below 40 percent shooting. Give Miami and Golden State credit. Their defense partially explains that drop.
But another possible variable here is the shoulder stinger Tatum suffered in that Game 3 loss to the Heat. Tatum never missed a game with that injury. He even returned for the end of Game 3. But visually, he didn't quite look the same from that moment onward, and statistically, he just couldn't get to the basket as easily.
So with the Finals over and the Celtics' run halted, have we learned anything more about Tatum's injury? Well, yes and no. Tatum did not speak about it in much depth at his post-game press conference, but when he was asked if he expected to have any sort of procedure done on his shoulder in the offseason, he responded simply "no, I don't think so."
If the injury was serious enough to require surgery, there's a good chance Tatum would have missed time with it. He didn't. While he may have been dealing with pain, it does not appear as though he suffered an injury that should have lasting effects. While that may not offer much of an explanation for what happened to Tatum as the playoffs progressed, it should at least make Celtics fans feel a bit better about next season. Their best player should be healthy as they try to return to the Finals and get that 18th championship.