THE box score will show you that Cleveland won Game 7 and earned a trip to the NBA Finals. Analyse the box score further and you will see the atrocious 17.9% the Celtics shot from the 3-point line and some measly point totals from big names. While Jaylen Brown (13 points) and Terry Rozier (4 points) struggled to get going though, Jayson Tatum was thriving on one of the biggest stages in sports against his childhood hero.
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THERE was a cool moment early in the game where a clip was shown of Tatum’s first ever attempted field goal in the NBA back in October. Here’s how it unfolded.
HERE’S a clip from Game 7 last night, seven short months later…
THESE two plays alone can epitomise the growth that the 20-year old has experienced this year. Last night was his 99th game of the season and obviously the 99th game of his career. Yet, he has played with a manner of maturity this postseason that have many convinced that Tatum is destined for greatness. Not bad for a guy who was playing high school ball just two years ago.
THIS Game 7 performance wasn’t the only noteworthy night that Tatum had these playoffs, outperforming what any of us thought he was capable of. After Boston moved down and took him with the 3rd overall pick, many expected Tatum to be a nice bench scorer and slowly develop throughout the year. Injuries to Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward forced him to take on a bigger role which he thrived in.
HE led the team in scoring throughout the postseason and there weren’t many times where he looked out of his depth. With the exception of two games against the Bucks, Tatum scored in double digits for every other match. He averaged a hair under 24 points a game in the five-game series with Philly, forming a dominant duo with Jaylen Brown and giving the Celtics reason to believe that they were a team of destiny.
Image from bostonherald.com
THE loss is deflating for Boston, to fall so agonisingly close. However, they shouldn’t and won’t be bitter. This trip to the East Finals allowed them to get valuable playing time into their kids for future postseason runs. They were playing with house money to an extent, especially after all the injury blows that they suffered and ultimately, they didn’t have enough in the tank to take down the King. Then again, who in the East does.
ONE thing is for certain though this Celtics team seems ready to lay waste to their conference foes for the next decade if they can keep this nucleus together and Jayson Tatum will be an integral part of that. He wasn’t shy squaring off against James and something tells me that if they were to meet again in 12 months time, things would be different. Either way, this type of year wasn’t expected from Tatum, but the lanky youngster raised a lot of eyebrows this year. I can’t wait to see what he has in store to follow up his rookie campaign.
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