Jayson Tatum fell in the first round on Saturday night’s Starry 3-Point Contest as part of All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City.
The Celtics wing was the very first competitor of the night and made 16 out of 27 attempts for a total of 20 points, tying him with Utah’s Lauri Markkanen for fourth out of the eight participants.
Only the top three finishers from the first round – Indiana backcourt mates Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, and Portland’s Damian Lillard – moved onto the finals, where Lillard was crowned champion.
Tatum previously competed in the 2021 3-point contest, where he made it to the finals before losing to Steph Curry. In that contest, he saved his money ball rack (five balls worth two points apiece) for last. However, he switched it up this time by placing the money ball rack first, and it wound up costing him.
JT made his very first shot of the competition from the left corner, but then missed the remaining four money balls on that rack. He rebounded on the second rack making four of five, including the money ball. He then missed his first of two “Starry” balls worth three points from the deep-left wing, made two of five from the top of the arc, and then missed the second “Starry” ball, as well. But he finished off the round strong, making nine of his last 10 shots from the right side of the court, including a perfect 5-for-5 from the corner.
Tatum and Markkanen were on pace for a tiebreaking shootout until Lillard, the last shooter of the first round, eliminated them both with a score of 26.
Tatum earned his way into the competition by making 183 triples through the first 57 games, placing him sixth overall in the NBA. He has 25 games left to beat his personal best of 230, which he set last season, and Isaiah Thomas' franchise record of 245, which was set in 2016-17.
Although Tatum didn't meet his goal of winning the contest, he still cherishes every moment of the weekend's festivities.
“I never take it for granted,” the four-time All-Star said ahead of the competition. “All-Star Weekend is an honor to be a part of. It’s something that you only can dream about as a kid. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of it every year since I’ve been in the league and it’s something I really look forward to.”
Now that Tatum has warmed up his shooting hand, he’s ready for the main event Sunday night. He’ll join teammate and two-time All-Star Jaylen Brown, Celtics’ newly appointed full-time head coach Joe Mazzulla and the rest of Boston’s staff on the court for the 72nd annual All-Star Game, which is set to start at 8 p.m. on TNT.