BOSTON — Celtics rookie forward Jayson Tatum has played so well in his first NBA playoffs that he’s now being mentioned in the same breath as all-time legends Magic Johnson and Julius Erving.
Tatum led the Celtics with 25 points as they closed out their second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers with a Game 5 win Wednesday night at TD Garden, and his prolific scoring and ability to get to the free throw have put him alongside a Los Angeles Lakers legend in the record books.
Tatum also joined Johnson and Tony Parker as players age 20 or younger who starred in clinching games.
Tatum now has scored 20-plus points in seven straight playoff games. He’s one of two rookies to accomplish this fest since Julius Erving in 1972.
The Celtics rookie record for consecutive postseason games with 20-plus points was four by Larry Bird, a mark Tatum surpassed earlier in Round 2.
Tatum won’t win Rookie of the Year — 76ers point guard Ben Simmons probably will win — but the Duke product proved in this series that he’s the most complete first-year player in the 2017-18 rookie class. One could also make a compelling for Tatum as the No. 1 overall pick in a 2017 NBA re-draft.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports