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. 5: June 17, 2024, Game 5 of the NBA Finals vs. Dallas Mavericks








Personal Fouls















After struggling to find his rhythm throughout the NBA Finals, six years of postseason heartbreak culminated in this performance; 31 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists, shooting 45.8% from the field.

Statistically, it wasn’t one of Jayson Tatum’s six highest-scoring performances in the postseason — nor was it one of his most efficient, particularly from the three-point line. It was the finality of the performance, though — punctuating a season defined by expectation.

After acquiring Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis, the Boston Celtics were “expected” to win the NBA Championship. In the postseason, their dominance was largely attributed to their opposition’s injuries. Key contributors like Jimmy Butler, Donovan Mitchell, and Tyrese Haliburton all missed significant time — leading fans and pundits to doubt the Celtics' chances of winning the NBA Finals. 

Meanwhile, their opponents, the Dallas Mavericks, had defied all expectations in the postseason. Their star player, Luka Doncic, led all players in postseason points, rebounds, and assists entering the NBA Finals. His running mate, Kyrie Irving, who had a checkered history with the Celtics, found a new lease on life in Dallas — maturing into a leader for the young Mavericks.

However, it was the acquisitions of P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford at the trade deadline, who ultimately turned the Mavericks fortunes around. In the postseason, the Mavericks miraculously managed to defeat three 50-win teams, an accomplishment seldom seen in NBA history. These teams included the Los Angeles Clippers, the number one seed Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Minnesota Timberwolves; who shocked the world by eliminating the reigning, defending champion Denver Nuggets. The Mavericks had blazed their trail to the Finals by slaying giants. The Celtics seemed like just another obstacle. 

While the Celtics won the first three games thanks to balanced efforts from the ensemble cast, it was Jaylen Brown who led the way — averaging 24.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists, shooting 55.1% from the field and playing stellar defense. After their embarrassing 122-84 loss to the Mavericks in Game 4, the Celtics returned to the Garden in Game 5 ready to capture their championship. 

Tatum was just 27/74 from the field in the first four games but came alive when the lights were brightest: leading all scorers with 31 points and out-scoring the Mavericks’ phenom, Luka Doncic. It was the totality of Tatum’s performance — dishing 11 assists and grabbing 8 rebounds — that was so astounding.

The Celtics won Game 5 106-88, eliminating the Mavericks in only five games — proving once-and-for-all, that the Celtics were as dominant as their 80-21 overall record indicated they were. Tatum’s dynamic performance led the Celtics to their coronation — raising banner 18 above the Boston Garden.