Jayson Tatum’s heroics helped save the Boston Celtics’ season in Game 6 after he scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to help his team complete the comeback win. He carried the day again but this time didn’t wait until the final 12 minutes to do damage. Tatum scored 17 of his 51 points in the third quarter, which saw the Celtics outscore the Philadelphia 76ers 33-10, which blew the game wide open and effectively put it away.
Philadelphia were never able to get on a run to make a decent comeback attempt after the third quarter, and you could see in their stars’ body language that they had been mentally defeated.
A three-pointer in the fourth quarter put Tatum’s total at 51 points, which became the new Game 7 scoring record. The record was previously held by Steph Curry after he dropped 50 points on the Sacramento Kings in their deciding game in the first round a couple of weeks ago. Tatum’s final line of 51 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals while shooting 17 of 28 overall and 6 of 10 beyond the arc showed how complete his performance was in their title decider.
It must have felt like an added bonus for Tatum that he put on this kind of performance in front of his mom on Mother’s Day, as she was in the stands cheering him on along with other Celtics fans. Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla pulled Tatum off the floor with 3:23 left on the clock to allow the home crowd to give him a well-deserved standing ovation.
Jaylen Brown was the only other Celtic to break the 20-point mark as he ended the game with 25 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Malcolm Brogdon was the third and last Celtic to score in double digits with 12 points off the bench.
The Celtics will face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, which is a rematch of last year’s series that was won 4-3 by the Celtics. Boston and Miami also faced each other in the bubble playoffs, which the Heat won 4-2 to advance to the NBA Finals.
That series will once again pit Tatum against Jimmy Butler. With the way the two are playing right now, the series should be a mouthwatering prospect for NBA fans. It’s a star’s league, and there are few stars playing better than Tatum and Butler in this postseason.
Doc Rivers, who won the title with the Celtics in 2008, added to his reputation for blowing leads by doing it again in this series.