Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum joins rarified air with his Game 7 masterpiece

Seemingly chasing history all season for the Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum has solidified himself among legendary company with his Game 7 performance.

In their Game 7 victory in the Eastern Conference semifinals over the Toronto Raptors, the Boston Celtics excised many demons. The first was surpassing the second round again after missing the conference finals in 2019 following two straight trips in the years prior.

After seemingly building towards something great from 2016-18, the 2019 postseason season left a bad taste in the mouths of Cs fans everywhere. The 2019-20 season was a like a post-meal breath mint, and thus far the 2020 playoffs from the Lake Buena Vista bubble in Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports complex has been an all-expenses-paid trip to flavortown.

In addition, Jaylen Brown has reclaimed his starting role. And conveniently enough for Brad Stevens, he hasn’t had to choose between Brown and Marcus Smart. Smart has admirably stepped into the starting spot and has given the Boston Celtics an intriguing question this offseason pertaining to whether or not they should shop Gordon Hayward since things appear to be fine without him.

Finally, Jayson Tatum has ascended from playoff dud to playoff hero. After averaging just 15 points, six rebounds and two assists in 2019, he has elevated those totals to 25 points, ten rebounds and four assists per game. No longer just a scorer by trade, Tatum is rounding into a complete and versatile wing. In fact, his stat line is one you could easily confuse with Kawhi Leonard’s playoff totals.

Like Leonard, Tatum is accumulating his Game 7 moments–coincidentally enough against the team the “Klaw” just won a championship with last year in Toronto. With a final line of 29/12/7, Tatum joined rarified air in Game 7 lore:

And also with that, his postseason resume adds another notch after Friday’s triumph:

It’s not hyperbole saying that we are watching Tatum rise to superstardom in the bubble. A conference championship would put him in the conversation for being a top 10 player in the league…but an NBA title would continue to put his name in conversations with the late great Kobe Bryant.

Next: What does Tatum think of Kyrie Irving these days?
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