The NBA is in awe of Celtics star Jayson Tatum after a historic performance in his team’s epic Playoffs win on Saturday.
Records have fallen on a night where Celtics star Jayson Tatum went berserk to force Game 7 in Boston’s series with Milwaukee.
The Celtics won Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs series 108-95 on Saturday, despite Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring 44 points.
While Giannis had a monster night, Tatum had arguably he biggest game of his career as he put up 46 points, shooting at 53 per cent from the field.
Early in the fourth quarter he took over the game and scored 11 consecutive points for the Celtics to set up a thrilling series decider.
Watch Live Coverage of The 2022 NBA Playoffs with ESPN on Kayo including every game of The Conference Finals and The Finals. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
With his team facing elimination, Tatum delivered, drilling seven of the Celtics’ 17 three-pointers and helping them withstand a 44-point, 20-rebound performance from Antetokounmpo.
Antetokoumpo posted the first 40-point, 20-rebound game since Shaquille O’Neal in 2001, but his third 40-point outburst in four games wasn’t enough for the reigning champs to advance.
They’ll have to battle for a place in the Eastern Conference finals in Boston on Monday (AEST) — the same day that the team Milwaukee beat in last season’s championship series, the Phoenix Suns, play the Dallas Mavericks in game seven of their Western Conference series.
Tatum reeled off 11 straight Boston points in the fourth quarter to help thwart a rally by the Bucks, who closed a 13-point deficit to four on Antetokounmpo’s three-pointer early in the final period.
It looked briefly as if the Bucks might author another impressive comeback victory, after erasing a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to win game five on Wednesday.
But Tatum and the rest of the Celtics wouldn’t let that happen.
According to NBA Stats, Tatum’s 46 points was the equal second-highest points haul by a Celtics player when facing a Playoffs elimination game. He is tied with Paul Pierce and was one shot off Sam Jones’ 47-point record in 1963.
Tatum and Antetokounmpo’s battle is just the fifth time in the history of the NBA two opponents scored more than 44 points in the same game.
“I think we played with a little more toughness this game,” Tatum said. “Our season was on the line. I knew that and we knew that. We had to give it all we’ve got.”
Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, and point guard Marcus Smart added 21 points for the Celtics.
Jrue Holiday scored 17 for Milwaukee, who remain without three-time All-Star forward Khris Middleton, who has missed nine games with a sprained left knee.
NBA commentators were in awe of Tatum’s performance.
High profile commentator Bill Simmons wrote on Twitter Tatum had “flames sticking out his ass”.
“Can’t call that The Tatum Game because he’s special and there’s going to be more,” he posted.
“But man… that’s everything we ever wanted from the guy. And when they needed it the most.”
The Celtics quickly embraced the jokes about Tatum being the boogey man on Friday the 13th in the United States.
NBA commentator Rob Perez was also blown away by the battle between Tatum and Antetokounmpo.
“This feels like one of those remember where you were when it happened moments,” he wrote on Twitter.
“This is basketball at the absolute highest level, my god.”
He went on to describe the battle as “godzilla and ghidorah currently shooting fire breath at each other on a basketball court”.