The Boston Celtics forced a decisive Game 7 on Thursday night, earning a 95-86 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.
The C’s tied up the Eastern Conference semifinals series, 3-3.
Check out the full box score here.
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
The story of this game was always going to revolve around Jayson Tatum.
There were spurts where it looked like the Celtics were going to coast to a victory. There were also points where they looked like they were going to lay down and die quietly. Neither happened, as this was a dogfight until the very end. Through all of that, the story was Tatum.
In an elimination game, the Celtics’ superstar turned in what looked to be the worst performance of his career. Just one day after being named first-team All-NBA, Tatum was on a miserable pace, netting five points on 1-of-14 shooting, nine rebounds, six assists, one steal and two blocks through three quarters.
Then, after working through some issues in the first half of the fourth quarter, he nailed back-to-back threes to give Boston a lead that they never relinquished. The Celtics’ star scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, connecting on three shots from beyond the arc to bury the 76ers.
In a game where the Celtics showed heart on the road and kept their season alive, Tatum was the story.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Tatum was the story, as we said. He finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks in the win.
— Marcus Smart is the only reason the Celtics didn’t get trounced Thursday night. He kept them in it through 41 minutes, finishing with a team-high 22 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
— Tyrese Maxey was superb for Philadelphia, putting together one of the best defensive performances of his young career. The 22-year-old finished with 26 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
DraftKings Sportsbook set the odds of Smart registering the first field goal at +1100 prior to the game. His three-pointer to get the scoring started netted $100 bettors a breezy $1,200 payout.
The Celtics and Sixers will return to Boston for a do-or-die Game 7 on Sunday. Tipoff from TD Garden is to be determined.