NBA Playoffs: Boston forces Game 7 on Philadelphia behind Tatum’s clutch shooting

Jayson Tatum came alive when the Celtics needed him the most (Matt Slocum/AP photo via

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

It doesn’t matter if you start badly, it’s how you finish strong.

Facing a hostile crowd at the Wells Fargo Center during the must-win Game 6, the Boston Celtics weathered the storm and banked on the timely clutch shooting of superstar Jayson Tatum to force a win-or-go-home Game 7 on the Philadelphia 76ers, 95-86, in the ongoing Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs last May 12, 2023.

Tatum activated takeover mode in the final crucial stretch of the fourth quarter and made up for his dismal shooting in the first three frames when he only scored three points.

Despite the struggles, Tatum kept on finding his stroke and finally made his first three-pointer of the game at the 4:17 mark of the fourth quarter.

After connecting on his first trifecta, Tatum then went beast mode in the next three minutes and sank three more treys to silence the whole Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.

It was a ridiculous stretch for the superstar small forward as his three threes in two minutes extended Boston’s lead to eight, 92-84, with only 1:53 remaining in the game.

Tatum then iced the game for Boston after hitting the dagger three-pointer that ballooned the Celtics’ lead to 11 points, 95-84, which officially ended Philadelphia’s comeback attempt with only 37 seconds left in the clock.

Boston looked to blow the game wide-open after quickly leading by 16 points midway through the second quarter, 44-28, off a Marcus Smart leftie layup.

However, after Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey got it going for the 76ers, Philadelphia suddenly looked like a different team and retook the lead in the third quarter, 64-62.

The Celtics kept on punching back courtesy of baskets from Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White but Embiid once again imposed his will on both ends of the floor to give the 76ers a slight 83-81 advantage in the fourth.

That’s when Tatum then flipped the switch and carried Boston with his timely clutch shooting, helping the Celtics return at home for all the marbles in Game 7.

Smart top-scored for the Celtics with 22 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists while Tatum added 19 markers, nine boards, six assists, and two blocks.

On the other hand, Embiid and Maxey scored 26 points apiece for Philadelphia but needed more help as James Harden only chipped in 13 points built from 4/16 shooting from the field.

Tobias Harris, who was their ex-factor during their huge Game 5 win on the road, only managed to produce a deuce in 41 minutes of playing time.