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Jayson Tatum drops Game 7-record 51 points, Celtics destroy 76ers

May 14, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second quarter of game seven of the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Jayson Tatum poured in a record-setting 51 points and the Boston Celtics used a 28-3 run in the third quarter to defeat the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 112-88 Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Tatum’s 51 points broke the NBA record for points scored in a Game 7, set earlier this postseason when Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry scored 50. Tatum was 17-for-28 from the field, including 6-of-10 on 3-point attempts. Tatum also had 13 rebounds, five assists and two steals.

“It felt great,” Tatum said. “This was a back-and-forth series. Obviously I didn’t play well in the first half last game and I was just happy to get that opportunity to bounce back. … Game 7 is all about win or go home.”

John Havlicek holds the record for points scored by a Celtics player in a playoff game. Havlicek scored 54 points in Game 1 of the 1973 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks.

Jaylen Brown added 25 points for the second-seeded Celtics, who will face the eighth-seeded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. That best-of-seven series begins Wednesday in Boston.

Joel Embiid, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player this season, shot 5-of-18 from the field and scored 15 points. He was held to two points in the second half.

Tobias Harris led third-seeded Philadelphia with 19 points. James Harden finished with nine points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Boston seized control of the game by outscoring Philadelphia 33-10 in the third quarter. The game was tied 55-55 with 11:37 remaining in the third, but Boston scored 28 of the next 31 points. The 76ers went scoreless for a 6:23 stretch in the quarter.

“We played great all year and this loss absolutely diminishes what we did in some way,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said.

Boston trailed 29-23 after one quarter, but outscored Philadelphia by nine points in the second and had a 55-52 lead at halftime. Tatum had 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the first half.

Philadelphia, which trailed 88-62 after three quarters, was attempting to advance past the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2001.

–Field Level Media

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