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Jayson Tatum’s record-breaking performance outshines NBA MVP Joel Embiid in Game 7 of Celtics-76ers

Joel Embiid may have taken home the 2023 NBA MVP award, but Jayson Tatum was on another level for the Boston Celtics in Game 7 on Sunday. It seemed no matter what Embiid, James Harden, and the rest of the Philadelphia 76ers did, Tatum had a response in the Celtics’ 112-88 win.

Tatum was in the zone all afternoon. If this were NBA 2K, Tatum would have been on fire for all four quarters. Meanwhile, Embiid was ice-cold and largely disappeared despite facing elimination.

Tatum put on a masterclass. It didn’t matter if he was driving the lane, putting Tobias Harris in the spin cycle. Or by striking from distance, putting in work to create his own open shot. Tatum excelled at everything.

We saw the 76ers get off to an encouraging 29-23 start in the first quarter on the road at TD Garden, but it was all downhill from there. Tatum took over, getting up to 25 points by halftime.

The Celtics dominated the second quarter, 32-23, to take a 55-52 lead into halftime. Then came a momentum-swinging third quarter where Tatum got whatever he wanted, as the Celtics scored 33, and the Sixers managed just 10 points in 12 minutes.

  • Jayson Tatum’s stat line in Game 7: 51 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals

We witnessed Tatum’s 20th 30-point game in the postseason. It places him in an elite group among players to have 20 or more 30+ point games at age 25 or younger in NBA playoff history. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Tatum’s idol, Kobe Bryant are the others.

But Tatum didn’t stop at 30 points. He also recorded his fourth 40-point game in the postseason and his first 50-point performance. In doing so, he broke a new Celtics team record for most points in a Game 7, surpassing Sam Jones, who set the mark in 1963.

Not only did Tatum’s 51 break a Celtics Game 7 record, it broke the NBA record, which Stephen Curry recently set against the Sacramento Kings.

As Mark Jackson pointed out, this unforgettable effort came with Tatum’s mom sitting in the front row to watch her son play on Mother’s Day. We can’t think of a better gift.

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