Celtics beat 76ers: Tatum’s 51 points in Game 7 set a record

Jayson Tatum turned to the boisterous Boston crowd and let out a cathartic roar as he made another 3-pointer midway through the third quarter on Sunday, by himself to outscore the Philadelphia 76ers that span.

Celtics won against the 76ers.

Tatum’s 51 points in Game 7 were the most ever scored in an NBA game of that type, and he helped the Celtics to a 112-88 victory and a spot in the Eastern Conference finals. Tatum surpassed the previous record of 50 points, established by Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Sacramento Kings two weeks earlier.

Celtics won against the 76ers.
Celtics won against the 76ers. (Image Source: Celtics/Twitter)

Only five players in NBA history have recorded a 50-10-5 performance in a playoff game; Tatum did so by shooting 17-of-28 from the field and adding 13 rebounds and five assists.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart described it as a movie. “This is a major motion picture. being able to put your feet up, get some popcorn, and enjoy the show.

Tatum had one of the worst shooting nights of his career in Game 6, but he bounced back with a franchise-record performance. In Game 7, he contributed 62 points, which was more than the combined total of Joel Embiid (15 points) and James Harden (9 points) of the Sixers.

According to ESPN’s stats, Tatum scored all 51 of his points in the half-court while facing five different defenders, including 17 against Embiid, the 2023 NBA MVP. To top it all off, the sold-out crowd at TD Garden ended the game by serenading Tatum with cries of “MVP.” Tatum concluded the season in a career-best fourth place in MVP voting.

Tatum, who received boos from the Boston crowd after calling Sunday an opportunity to redeem themselves, said as much before the game. Tatum shot terribly in the first three quarters of Game 6 but heated up in the fourth.

After Sunday’s game, Tatum remarked, “I was excited just for the moment, to be able to come out and play today.” That I had just about the worst possible game for 42, or 43 minutes was obviously in my thoughts. ‘It’s only up from here’ is a common expression among us.

From the outset of Game 7, he showed signs of being prepared to respond. Tatum had a huge first half, scoring 25 points after only scoring 18 points in the first half between Games 4, 5, and 6.

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According to Tatum, “I was too locked in” heading into Game 6. “I was way too tense. I was dwelling too much on my thoughts of what I should do. The minimum number of points I must achieve? This is an extremely significant time.

I felt more like myself today, too. Before the game, I was jovial and carefree. When I’m relaxed and enjoying myself, I play at my highest level. I just tried not to worry about the expectations others had of me. Just pay attention to the game and enjoy yourself.

Despite both of their stars failing, the Sixers were still in the game after the first quarter and still trailed 55-52 at halftime. Then, in the third quarter, Boston blew the game open by outscoring Philadelphia 33-10. With 17 points in the third quarter, Tatum effectively put the game out of reach for the Sixers.

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers claimed he could only think of one player who had played as Tatum had in the playoffs.

I have seen one. And it happened here, in this place,” Rivers lamented. “And LeBron James was the one. That was the first and, perhaps, last time I ever want to watch a live performance like that… [Tatum was] fantastic.

For the second year in a row and the fifth time in the last seven years, the Celtics have reached the conference finals.

Tatum described Miami as a “team that we are extremely familiar with.” They play hard and compete with the best of them because their coach is excellent. They play solid defense, are creative in their playmaking, and consistently find ways to win. I’m looking forward to the challenge of the intense competition.

The Celtics won two in a row after falling behind 3-2 in the series. This circumstance was quite similar to the Eastern Conference playoffs last year when the Celtics were down 3-2 against the Milwaukee Bucks and had to come back to win the series.

According to an analysis by ESPN Stats & Information, the Celtics now own the NBA record with seven come-from-behind series victories.

“You are always going into a series with a notion of how it’s intended to go, and that’s just not how the playoffs are,” said Celtics first-year head coach Joe Mazzulla. We merely dealt with the series’ ups and downs. Avoided extremes of both happiness and sadness. Even though we went through some tough times, we were able to maintain our emotional unity, which is crucial in the postseason.

The Celtics are using their knowledge and experience from their run to the NBA Finals last year to help them this year. The phrase “unfinished business” was prominently flashed on the video board before Game 7 as a rallying cry for the team.

At Caesars Sportsbook, the Celtics opened as -500 favorites to defeat the Heat (+380) with the elimination of the other top seeds in the conference. Fans in Boston were already looking ahead to the next game as the fourth quarter came to a close, chanting, “Beat the Heat.”

According to Celtics center Al Horford, “We shut in and stayed together.” The Sixers are a very competent squad. Depending on who you asked, that game was either a conference final or a potential Finals matchup. That’s how excellent of a team they are. And credit must be given to them. They make a strong group. One team needed to prevail, and we were that squad.

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