Jayson Tatum’s 51 vs. Sixers sends Celtics back to ECF

Jayson Tatum set a new NBA record for the most points scored in a Game 7, with 51, as the Boston Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals with a 112-88 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. He also became the fifth player in NBA history to score at least 50-10-5 in a playoff game. Tatum had a dismal Game 6, shooting 1-13 in the first three quarters, but redeemed himself with his sensational Game 7 performance, scoring or assisting on 62 points in total. Despite leading after the opening quarter and keeping the game tied at 52 by halftime, the sixth seed 76ers were soundly beaten in the third quarter, being outscored 33-10 by the third seed Celtics.

Tatum scored all of his 51 points in the half court and was defended by five different players, including Joel Embiid, the 2023 NBA MVP, against whom he scored 17 of those points. After the victory, the crowd at TD Garden chanted “MVP” in Tatum’s direction. Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla drew on the team’s playoff experiences from last year to help them secure the win, encouraging them to maintain emotional togetherness throughout the series. The Celtics advanced to the conference finals for the second consecutive season and the fifth time in the past seven seasons.

The Celtics will begin a highly competitive match against the Miami Heat in the conference finals, a team with whom the Celtics are very familiar. Miami is a well-coached, competitive team that defends well, makes plays and has a knack for winning games. Caesars Sportsbook has installed the Celtics as -500 favorites for the matchup, and Boston fans expect nothing less than a victory against Miami.

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