Ranking Jayson Tatum's top performances in his Boston Celtics career

Jayson Tatum has enjoyed a special career on the Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum has enjoyed a special career on the Boston Celtics / Maddie Malhotra/GettyImages
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No. 6: May 23, 2023, Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs Miami Heat








Personal Fouls















The 2022-23 Boston Celtics won 57 games in the regular season but found themselves in hot water during the Conference Semifinals; down 3-2 versus the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics narrowly won Game 6 against the ‘Sixers, before blowing them out of the water in Game 7. This set the stage for the Celtics' third Eastern Conference Finals appearance in just four years, against a familiar foe. 

The Miami Heat had a very different season than the Boston Celtics. The Heat had finished 44-38, good for seventh in the Eastern Conference. This meant that the Heat would have to enter the Play-In Tournament, where they shockingly lost their opening contest to the Atlanta Hawks. The Heat had one opportunity to keep their postseason hopes alive, in a single-elimination game against the Chicago Bulls  to determine the eighth seed in the playoffs. The Heat bested the Bulls, 102-91, thanks in large part to Jimmy Butler and marginal roleplayer, Max Strus, who both scored 31 points. 

Miami advanced to the First Round against the league’s best Milwaukee Bucks, who led both conferences with 58 wins. Giannis Antetokounmpo missed Game 2 and Game 3 with a back injury that he sustained in Game 1; giving the Heat the opportunity they needed. Jimmy Butler and co. beat the Bucks in 5 games, punctuated by a 56-point performance in Game 4 and a 42-point performance in Game 5. 

In the Conference Semifinals, the “Heartbreak” Heat defeated the favored New York Knicks in six games — setting the stage for the third Conference Finals between the Heat and Celtics in four years. The Heat won in 2020, but fell short against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. The Celtics won in 2022, but similarly fell short against the Golden State Warriors. 

The white-hot Heat stunned the Celtics, narrowly escaping victorious in Game 1 and Game 2, in the Garden no less. Leading the series 2-0, the Heat returned to South Beach and won Game 3 in dominant fashion — casting an inescapable shadow of doubt over the Celtics. No team has ever recovered from an 0-3 deficit. The “Heartbreak” Heat had defied the odds yet again. 

With nothing to lose, Jayson Tatum breathed life into the Celtics; leading all scorers in Game 4 with 33 points, shooting 63.6% from the field and 44.4% from beyond the arch. The Celtics beat the Miami Heat 116-99, generating the spark that fueled the Celtics comeback — tying the series 3-3. The Celtics were on the cusp of making history until Jayson Tatum rolled his ankle in the opening minutes of Game 7.

We’ll never know if the Celtics would have won Game 7, if it weren’t for Tatum’s injury. However, there’s no denying that his performance in Game 4 helped pave the way for the Celtics improbable comeback.