Jayson Tatum Scores 51 to Lift Celtics Past Embiid, 76ers in Game 7

Sunday afternoon in the 2023 NBA Playoffs saw the Boston Celtics improve to 27-9 in Game 7 with a dominant 112-88 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Jayson Tatum totally redeemed himself by scoring 51 points, a new Game 7 record.

The Great Game 7 (While It Lasted)

Joel Embiid
Photo : PA Images / Icon Sport

History will show a 24-point loss thanks to Tatum’s monster game that sent the 76ers home short of the Conference Finals, which they still have not reached since 2001.

But for those who watched the game, this was actually competitive for over a half. In fact, the 76ers came out strong and led 29-23 after one quarter. Perhaps a sign of the doom to come, P.J. Tucker, the least productive scorer on the team, scored 11 first-quarter points for the 76ers, which is more than James Harden (9) finished the game with.

Tatum also had 11 points in the first quarter after epic struggles in the first halves of recent games in this series. He helped rally the Celtics back from a 9-point deficit to a 35-35 tie, which was the most competitive portion of the game as these teams battled into halftime with the Celtics up 55-52.

Tobias Harris tied the game at 55 one basket into the third quarter, but that was the beginning of the end for Philadelphia.

The 33-5 Run

While the 76ers scored the first 3 and final 2 points of the third quarter, in between Boston exploded with a 33-5 run, one of the most dominant runs you will ever see in a playoff game, let alone a Game 7.

In the third quarter, the 76ers shot 3-of-21 from the field, including 2-for-13 from 3. The Celtics were 8-of-12 from 3-point territory in the quarter. Tatum was the man in this quarter, scoring 17 points and going 4-of-5 from 3.

The 76ers never got it back under 20 points in the fourth quarter. Tatum finished with 51 points, breaking Steph Curry’s Game 7 record of 50 points that he just set two weeks ago against the Kings. Tatum only needed 28 shots to do it, rescuing his legacy these last five quarters after it looked like Boston might fall in Philadelphia in Game 6 before hitting his late 3s. He was money in this game from start to finish.

Jaylen Brown was also solid with 25 points, giving that duo 76 points. Joel Embiid and Harden combined for just 24 points, a nightmare finish for two MVPs and scoring champions. They combined to shoot 8-of-29 from the field.

The 76ers were 8-of-37 from 3-point territory, and the Celtics were 15-of-33 (45.5%).

After drafting Embiid in 2014, the 76ers have still not advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Meanwhile, the Celtics are in that round for the fifth time in the last seven seasons, and they will face the Miami Heat in it for the third time since 2020. It is a rematch of the 2020 bubble playoffs and last season when the Celtics won Game 7 in Miami to get to the NBA Finals.

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