Celtics Notes: Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis, Jaylen Brown, Jeff Van Gundy

Star forward Jayson Tatum indicated he’s looking beyond the past as the Celtics get ready for the NBA Finals vs. the Mavericks. Game 1 is Thursday in Boston.Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics, NBA

The Celtics, of course, were here two years ago, losing to the Warriors.

“There was a lot myself and we can learn from the experience of being in the Finals and this time, this go-around is a lot different,” Tatum told reporters, via Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald.

“Obviously we’ve been there before and we came up short. It was a great opportunity to make it to the finals again and you don’t always get a second chance. So, I’m really just looking at it as a second chance and trying to simplify things as much as we can. It’s just another series we’ve got to win.”

Last time, the Celtics had to contend with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest. This time, it’s Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving and a Mavs team that is on the rise after not making the playoffs last season.

Ah, yes. Kyrie. The Celtics know their former teammate well. But he appears to have really found a home in Dallas next to Doncic.

“It does seem like that Dallas has obviously been a great fit for him getting to the NBA finals,” Tatum said.

“The staff and the team, they all just kind of jelled together and it is great to see Ky out there playing at such a high level. He’s doing all the special things we love to see him do and have fun doing it.”

  • Forward Kristaps Porzingis, who missed the past two rounds of the playoffs with a calf strain, is nearing a return. “He looks good doing basketball drills and he looks pretty good going through them,” coach Joe Mazulla told reporters.
  • That gives Mazulla added hope, of course. “When KP is at his best, he’s been tremendous for us and we expect that from him and we know he will give that to us,” he said. “As far as everything else, it’s what goes into winning and what gives us the best chance to win each particular game, each particular possession and each matchup.”
  • The Celtics have contemplated having Jeff Van Gundy join Mazzulla’s staff as an assistant next season, per Marc Stein of The Stein Line. Van Gundy was hired as senior advisor before the season.
  • The matchup of Jaylen Brown and Doncic is likely to be pivotal and could determine the outcome of the Finals, wrote Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston in a breakdown of the matchup.

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