On the brink of elimination, the Boston Celtics needed Jayson Tatum to step up and deliver big in Game 6. Saying that he did so would be an understatement.
Tatum scored a game-high 46 points on 17-for-32 shooting Friday night, outdueling two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo — who had 44 points and 20 rebounds of his own — in the Celtics’ 108-95 victory.
That type of performance wasn’t surprising, but it certainly wasn’t expected. Unless you’re one of his teammates of course.
“Man, he took it to another level,” Al Horford said in an interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin. “That’s what big-time players do in moments like this. He’s a special player, and he showed it tonight.”
That type of performance was one that doesn’t come around often, but does arise in moments when superstar players are needed to deliver.
“Knowing that if we lost, our season would be over with. I was excited to play Game 6,” Tatum said in his postgame media availability, per NBC Sports Boston “This was a big moment for all of us – for myself and the team – for how we would respond.”
Jaylen Brown shared a similar sentiment, saying, “It was a big-time performance. Our backs against the wall, too… Definitely a signature game for the Celtics and for Jayson.”
Tatum and the Celtics will no prepare for a decisive Game 7 back at TD Garden. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.