Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Jayson Tatum on Celtics’ early season struggles: 'Maybe we believed the hype too much'

Erin Walsh
December 06, 2018 - 11:25 am

The Celtics are off to a rough start.

With a record of 13-10 and currently sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, have the Celtics believed the hype too much?

Celtics budding star Jayson Tatum thinks so.

Tatum was asked by what he believes is the cause to the early season struggles.

“There’s a lot of different reasons," said Tatum. "Maybe we believed the hype too much and we didn’t come out and perform. There’s a big target on our back.”

Tatum added: “Teams are coming after us and maybe we didn’t understand that fully. Nothing we can do about the past, just focus on each game.”

After a run to the Eastern Conference finals last season without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics were believed to be the top team in the East this season with their return.

Despite being sixth in the East right now, the Celtics have plenty of time to make a run at the top spot.

Irving added that it comes down to buying into the concept and having fun playing the game.

“I think just guys being in their specific roles,” Irving said. “[Coach] Brad [Stevens] being more definitive in what he wants and us responding the right way and not necessarily doing it selfishly. Coach says something, he wants something done, he thinks this is best for the team — instead of responding selfishly and thinking about yourself, you think about what’s best for the team.”

Irving added: “I think over the last few games we’ve just been having a lot more fun doing so, and playing the right way. Playing at a high level, it should be fun. It should be fun getting up and down, getting stops, cheering for your teammates. Basketball should be fun. I think initially when we first started, everyone was in their own heads and emotionally you can be all over the place. You bring that emotion to your teammates and it’s just not a good recipe.”

The Celtics look to improve their record Thursday night when they face the Knicks at TD Garden.