Jayson Tatum made history to get the Boston Celtics past reigning MVP in 2023 playoffs

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum, James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum, James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Jayson Tatum is a special player who has brought so much joy to Boston Celtics fans over the years. In the 2023 postseason, Tatum delivered a record-breaking 51-point performance in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers that fans will remember forever.

The Celtics defeated the 76ers 112-88, sending Joel Embiid and company home again in the postseason. With the win, the Cs advanced to their fourth Conference Finals in the Tatum era. With this being the final installment of our rewatch series, what better way to finish it than Tatum’s iconic performance?

Some background heading into the game: the Boston Celtics were forced to win Game 6 on the road in Philadelphia to force a Game 7. Tatum took over in the fourth quarter, propelling the Celtics to victory, thus setting the stage for a classic Game 7.

The Cs ultimately were in control throughout the game, and they broke the spirits of Embiid and James Harden. Boston led by as many as 30 points en route to a dominant win over the 76ers. The victory solidified the Celtics’ status of owning Embiid and the 76ers.

Now, let’s dive into the main categories of our rewatch series.

Biggest moment of the game: Jayson Tatum’s big three-pointer

With a blowout game, it’s hard to find a signature big play, but Jayson Tatum had a few big three-pointers. The one that is worth highlighting is towards the end of the third quarter when Tatum hit a side-step three to give the Celtics a 28-point lead and to give himself 41 points.

The play is memorable as it led to a classic Mike Breen, “bang”, and he also called it a “Tatum Tornado.” I love the analogy by Breen, and it enhanced the moment for Tatum. An honorable mention for this category is when Tatum scored his 51st point of the night, and he held up a five and a one with his fingers.

Star of the game: Jayson Tatum

The star of this game is simple as Tatum put together a record-breaking performance. Tatum’s 51 points were the most scored ever in a Game 7, passing Stephen Curry, who had 50 points in Game 7 of the first round in the same postseason.

The Boston Celtics star also chipped in 13 rebounds and five assists while also shooting an impressive 17/28 from the field and 6/10 from three. Tatum has proven to be a big-game player, and he is only going to get better.

Winners of the game: Tatum/Jaylen Brown/Malcolm Brogdon

Besides Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Malcolm Brogdon stepped up with big performances. Brown had 25 points and six rebounds, and his performance was overshadowed by Tatum. The game was a true example of them playing superbly off of one another.

Brogdon also had an exceptional game off the bench, chipping in 12 points and two assists. Although Brogdon had a poor postseason overall, he did deliver in Game 7.

Losers of the game: Joel Embiid and James Harden

Embiid and Harden are the two losers of this game because they did nothing to change the narratives of their careers. Both Embiid and Harden are viewed as players with losing traits, and they are overall stat padders. The duo did not show up in this one, combining for only 24 points.

The game was an opportunity for the duo to enhance their legacy, but they ultimately made it worse.

Impact of the game on the Boston Celtics

The impact of this game is that the Celtics never looked the same in the 2023 postseason, falling behind 3-0 to the Miami Heat and losing in seven games.

The Boston Celtics now have a revamped roster that will look to capture that elusive Banner 18. On the flip side, the Sixers appear to be in disarray with Harden not attending practices.