On Sunday, Jayson Tatum didn’t get off to a sluggish start.
The Celtics’ star scored 25 points in the first half on the way to a career-high 51 points as Boston blew away the 76ers, 112-88, in Game 7. His 51 points are the most ever scored in a Game 7, surpassing the previous record of 50 points set by Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors two weeks earlier against the Sacramento Kings.
Jayson Tatum was the best player for the Boston Celtics in the playoff elimination of their old rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers, in a game that included reigning MVP Joel Embiid. For the 2nd year in a row, Boston will meet Miami in the Eastern Conference finals.
Intense Game Shifts Momentum: Celtics Surge After Flagrant Foul, Tie Score Against 76ers
Even though Philadelphia was up early, the first half did not appear like a rout. P.J. Tucker’s 11 points in the first quarter helped the 76ers take a 29-23 lead, beating his previous postseason scoring record by 2 points. Tatum’s equaling Tucker’s 11 points is an omen of greater things to come.
The 76ers maintained their lead to start the second. The game was tied with 8:26 to go when a flagrant foul was called on James Harden, swinging the momentum back to Boston. While Jaylen Brown was protecting the basket in transition, Harden attacked. Brown sprang to challenge Harden’s layup attempt, and Harden’s right hand made contact with Brown’s face. The basket stanchion was hit by Brown, who fell.
Jaylen Brown was probably missing the mask after this flagrant from Harden pic.twitter.com/gZGpKSzdqr
— Ball Don’t Lie (@Balldontlie) May 14, 2023
With Philadelphia up 35-27, officials reviewed the play and called Harden for a flagrant one foul for the collision. Free throws and possession for Boston negated a potential transition layup for Philadelphia. Two Brown three-pointers and an alley-oop slam by Robert Williams gave the Celtics a four-point advantage. Boston went on an 8-0 run after the incident and eventually tied the game at 35.
Tatum’s Explosive Scoring Run Propels Boston Celtics to Commanding Lead Over 76ers
And then Jayson Tatum took command. In the final 5:15 of the half, he scored 12 points, including a 3-pointer off a step-back move that put the Celtics up 55-52 at the break.
That's 25 first half points from Jayson Tatum 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/fYBM4JwLem
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 14, 2023
Boston completely took control after halftime. In the opening minutes of the third quarter, Jayson Tatum scored on successive possessions, including a 3-pointer that increased Boston’s advantage to 62-55. 76ers coach Doc Rivers called a timeout after the basket. But, it was all for naught.
Tatum’s Historic 51-Point Performance Propels Celtics to Dominant Game 7 Victory Over 76ers
The Celtics outscored the 76ers 33-10 in the third quarter, sparked by a 28-3 surge, to take an 88-62 advantage into the final period. In the NBA’s shot clock era, the 10-point third quarter was tied for the lowest scoring quarter in a playoff game. Jayson Tatum’s 17 third-quarter points were more than the rest of the 76ers’ combined total for the quarter.
The 76ers offered no comeback as the deficit widened. Tatum scored 9 more points in the fourth quarter, helping Boston extend their advantage to 108-78 with 3:23 to play. His series-clinching performance after a string of subpar outings, including a 1-for-14 start to Game 6. However, he came back strong in the fourth quarter of Game 6 with 16 points to help the Celtics secure a victory and set up Sunday’s decisive Game 7.
Jayson Tatum tallied 51 points, 13 boards, 5 assists, and 2 steals in the game’s final tally. He made 17 of 28 shots from the field, including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc. Brown scored 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from deep, adding 6 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
Boston Celtics Dominate Matchup: Jayson Tatum Shines, Embiid and Harden Struggle in Game 7 Showdown
When matched up against his All-NBA opponent, Embiid was thoroughly outclassed. The 76ers’ big scored 15 points, grabbed eight boards, and blocked two shots on 5 of 18 shooting. Harden scored 9 points, dished out 7 assists, and grabbed 6 boards on 3-of-11 shooting. From beyond the arc, he was 1 for 5.
The Celtics had a 47.1% field goal percentage and a 45.5% three-point clip (15-of-33). The 76ers’ shooting percentages were 37.3 from the field and 21.6% from deep. Boston had a 43-37 advantage on the boards and a 7-12 advantage in turnovers.
Rivers now has five more Game 7 defeats as a head coach than any other coach in NBA history, bringing his overall record to 6-10. For the sixth year running, Philadelphia’s season ended before the conference finals. In his first year leading the Boston Celtics, Joe Mazzulla has led them to the NBA Finals despite taking over for the exiled Ime Udoka in the offseason.
The Celtics hope to repeat their success from last year’s conference finals against the Heat, who are the No. 8 seed in the East and have already won two playoff series. On Wednesday night in Boston is when Game 1 will begin.
We’ll be here to bring you exclusive insights, expert analysis, and all the latest news from the world of NBA basketball and beyond. So stay tuned and always ready for some thrilling sports action.