Jayson Tatum Saves Boston Celtics’ Season With 46 Points

There was a time when the Boston Celtics’ season seemed to be in danger of crumbling into a pile of bad luck. They had a data loss in January. They are scuffling through a series of injuries. The question is whether Jayson Tatum can join Jaylen Brown – is it time for the team to decide to trade Brown? – with no criticism of Ime Udoka in his first season as a coach.

It is historically known in the last stages of the season, but worth repeating, especially now. Why? Because on Friday night, in the wake of a late-game meltdown the week before, the Celtics faced relegation in Milwaukee. Outside of their cocoon, as they braced themselves for Game 6, the question swirled: Are they blowing their time? Can they see the decision to continue their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Bucks?

The Celtics, however, seem to be embracing adversity. Maybe they should play at their best when everyone thinks they are done, the sandcastle will be swept into the sea. Down? Out? Their sandcastle is more clearly lined with metal, and they have proven as much as their 108-95 win.

“This is an important time for all of us,” Tatum said just minutes after putting together one of the best performances of the NBA last season. “I think we’ve seen a lot of difficulties and growth.”

There is no doubt about that after Tatum finished with 46 points and 9 rebounds to help even the best of us in the game. In the process, he overshadowed Giannis Antetokounmpo, who tried to pull the Bucks across the finish line with 44 points, 20 rebounds and 6 assists. It was a series that deserved a seven game, and the Celtics delivered. Game 7 is Sunday afternoon in Boston.

Tatum said, “I trust everyone in the locker room,” “We have what it takes.”

The Miami Heat, which eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers from the final on Thursday, is awaiting the winner of the Eastern Conference final, with the opening game of the series on Tuesday. The Heat should be happy to see the Celtics continue their series with the Bucks: Now the teams have a chance to discuss further.

“You got two juggernauts to it,” Celtics’ Marcus Smart said. “We are beating each other.”

The Celtics are thankful to have been in this position after the clash in the fourth quarter of Game 5 on Wednesday. That game could have haunted them after they had broken a 14-point lead. Smart, in particular, was angry with himself for making a couple of late games. He returned straight to the team practice area after the game, and then tossing and turning from a two-night nap before Game 6.

“I think I left my team,” he said.

The good news, Udoka said, is that the Celtics played well in Game 5 – until they did not play well. The contestants are there. And they reappeared in Game 6, this time for a total of 48 minutes.

Smart is fantastic, complete with 21 points and 7 assists without any changes. Brown scored 22 points. And consider the involvement of Derrick White, former Division II player and last-day trading receiver who was all over the place in the last three minutes of the first half. It acts as a 3-pointer with a short jumper. He drew a foul payment on Antetokounmpo. And then he made two free interceptions, bringing the Celtics to 10-point lead halfway through the half.

But the truth is that Smart, Brown and White are part of the support. The stage was joined by Tatum.

“It went to another brand,” Smart said. “We see it through his eyes.”

Since the start of the playoffs, when he christened the Celtics’ first-round series with the Nets with a game-winning layup, Tatum has reached his mark on elevating his stature as one of the league’s most ferociously talented players .

No, it was not protected by some clunker at times. In a loss to Milwaukee in Game 3, he shot 4 of 19 from the field and lost all of his 3-point attempts. But in three games since, he has averaged 36.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 47 percent of the field.

On Friday, Tatum played the best game around. He did more than score. By the time of the third quarter, he stripped the Bucks’ Bobby Portis in the post, making a layup for Brown and a 17-point lead.

Tatum was also capable of resisting anything that Antetokounmpo could throw at the Celtics, which was a lot. The Bucks were threatened in the fourth quarter when Antetokounmpo fell to a 3-pointer. Tatum managed to score the Celtics ‘next 10 points, angered by a deep 3-pointer over top Bucks’ Pat Connaughton.

“Actually, I knew when I was going,” Tatum said. “You heard that voice.”

No one counts Milwaukee, of course. The Bucks are defensive champions, and Antetokounmpo is capable of intergalactic feats. But no matter the floor difference of Khris Middleton, the All-Star forward who got off the left knee, Antetokounmpo had to do more Antetokounmpo than usual.

He needs more help from his friends on Sunday, especially against the likes of Tatum, the star in his right.

Now, after a season of living and growing, the Celtics find nothing but time ahead of them.

Udoka said, “We still have time to make his story better.”

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