In Game 6, Jayson Tatum brought the Celtics back from the brink to keep their season alive. For an encore in Game 7, all JT did was break the NBA record for points scored in a Game 7, dropping 51 points on the Philadelphia 76ers to electrify the TD Garden.
“Our season could’ve been over in Game 6,” Jayson said. “Just being in another Game 7, being able to come back home in front of our fans. I was really excited just for the moment to come out here and play today.”
Behind the Bradley Beal Elite Alum’s record-setting performance, Boston disposed of the Philadelphia 76ers 112-88 on Sunday afternoon to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year and the fifth time in the last seven years.
Tatum had one of his worst shooting nights of the season in Game 6, making just 5-of-21 shots from the field. But four of those buckets came in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, as JT rallied the Celtics to a victory to even the series and force a deciding Game 7 back in Boston.
On Sunday, the BBE alum picked up right where he left off, knocking down 4 of his eight shots for 11 points, however it was Philadelphia that led after one. JT then piled up 14 points in the second as Boston turned the tables and took a 55-52 halftime lead.
The third quarter was all Boston. Jayson poured in 17 points on 5-of-7 from the field, well more than the 10 points the Sixers scored as a team. By the end of the third quarter, the Celtics were in complete control.
‘It’s just so remarkable. In a Game 7, this type of magnitude, there are so many emotions. There’s a lot of intensity and for him to play like that, I mean, that’s what special players do,” Al Horford said. “The thing that I’m most proud of him is just how resilient he is. Because this series wasn’t ideal for him. It wasn’t going well for him individually on the offensive end, but he continued to defend. He continued to have an impact on the game. And when he broke through in that Game 6, I feel like that really helped him get going and it was just great to see him put on this show here tonight.”
Tatum put the finishing touches on his epic effort with nine more points in the fourth quarter.
His final bucket, a three with 7:21 remaining, put the Cs up 102-76 and pushed him past the 50-point barrier, breaking the Game 7 scoring record set by Stephen Curry just two weeks ago. Additionally, JT grabbed 13 rebounds, dished out five assists and had two steals, and he did it all without committing a turnover, making him the first player in history to score over 50 points in a turnover-free NBA playoff game.
“It’s a movie. It’s a big movie,” Marcus Smart said. “Being able to just sit back, eat your popcorn and watch. Sometimes we do get in that mode where we forget that we’re on the court playing with him and you’ve gotta continue to play because he’s able to make shots at a high difficulty and get really hot like he did tonight. But it’s a beauty. It’s a thing to watch. He works his tail off every day, he comes and has a game like Game 6 and then he comes out here and explodes. That’s what you ask for from one of your best players.”