Kendrick Perkins’ call-out of Jayson Tatum last week could have turned into a Twitter beef. Instead, the Boston Celtics star and the big man-turned-analyst worked things out the old-fashioned way.
After Boston’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night — sealed by a Tatum 3-pointer — Perkins revealed that Tatum reached out to him shortly after that call-out.
“The thing that I appreciate about Jayson Tatum is, he didn’t get sensitive,” Perkins said on Celtics Postgame Live, as seen in the video above. “He didn’t go back at me on Twitter or social media. Guess what ended up happening? We actually had a phone conversation, and we talked about it.”
That phone call allowed Perkins to tell Tatum where he was coming from — and for Tatum to share his thoughts on Perk’s comments.
Tatum’s ppg since Perkins’ call-out (four games)
“I told him, ‘Hey man, I’m a huge fan of yours. I’ve been a huge fan of yours. I just feel like you have it in you to elevate your game even more. You can get 25 (points) in your sleep, but I think that you could separate yourself and be up there with the superstars, and I feel like you’ve got more in your game and that you can take over this team,'” Perkins said. “And he’s been doing just that.
“I appreciate Jayson Tatum because we didn’t have a conversation where it was beef. We just had a conversation where he just wanted to understand where I was coming from and I’ve got to understand how he felt about my comments, and I had to let him know that I wasn’t attacking him personally and that I am a huge fan of his.
“That’s how real professionals handle their business, the way that Jayson Tatum is doing — not getting all sensitive.”
Whether it was Perkins’ comments that motivated him or not, Tatum has flipped a switch since Perk’s call-out. He dropped a career-high 53 points and 10 rebounds against the Minnesota Timberwolves last Friday night en route to winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week and is averaging 34.5 points and 9.8 rebounds over his last four games since that loss to Philly.
More importantly, Boston won all four of those games to move up to fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 29-26.