In a competition involving the Nets’ trio consisting of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kerry Irving, Celtics superstar Jason Tatum emerged as the best player on Earth.
After struggling in Game 1 and 2 of Boston’s first-round series against Brooklyn, Tatum exploded for 50 points in Game Three Friday night, leading the Celtics to a 125-119 victory in front of an electric TD Garden crowd. The 23-year-old shot 16 from 30 from the field, 5 from 11 from outside the arc and 13 from 15 from the free throw line, adding seven assists and six rebounds in 41 minutes.
Tatum became The third youngest player in NBA history to score 50 playoff points, with only Rick Barry and Michael Jordan reaching that number faster than him. He also became Only the sixth Celtics player To reach the total of these points in the post-season period, joining John Havlicek (54), Isaiah Thomas (53), Ray Allen (51), Sam Jones (51) and Bob Cossey (50).
The explosion was a welcome sight for Boston after Tatum scored a combined 31 points in both losses at Barclays and had to leave Game 2 early. Injury to the eye. The usually superior Celtics coach Brad Stephens was no praise for Tatum.
“He’s been very advanced for 23 years,” said Stevens. I said the word “special.” I don’t say it much, it seems he just has the unique ability to score the ball, slide through the seams, and find angles to score. But he also has the vision to make every reading correct. It was great tonight, but it was like this. A lot this year. It’s special. “
As for Tatum’s self-evaluation, he said it was simply “One of those nights.” The Celtics would need more of him if they wanted to make a big attack against the net.
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