At only 24-years-old, Jayson Tatum still has an entire promising career ahead. Dunks. Cold-blooded threes. Countless accolades. Maybe even a title or two. It’s all out in the open.
But for as gifted as Tatum is, we’ve wondered when he’d finally play like it in a do-or-die situation. When would he finally put the Celtics on his back and become the unstoppable star everyone knows he’s capable of being?
We got our answer on Friday night, with the Celtics down 3-2 against the Bucks (-1.5 point favorites coming in) in Milwaukee. Tatum went off for a 46-point (seven 3s!), nine-rebound, four-assist legendary performance in a 108-95 win to force Game 7.
By the Celtics’ lofty standards, Tatum now has the third-most points in an elimination game in franchise history. Whoa.
Every time the Bucks made a run or kept themselves within striking distance, Tatum returned with a kill shot. The way superstars always do.
Tatum simply could not miss when Milwaukee cut it to four with just over eight minutes to go. From any angle. With 11 straight points over the next few possessions, he essentially singlehandedly gave the Celtics breathing room by himself.
Tatum was so special and so locked in against the defending champs that he made a legendary performance on the other side irrelevant.
The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo — the reigning Finals MVP — dropped one of the only 40-point, 20-rebound playoff games in over two decades. Because of Tatum, it didn’t even matter!
We don’t know what will happen when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks meet for an epic Game 7 on Sunday. But after Tatum’s all-time clutch showing in Game 6, we do know that you never count out superstars like him.
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