Jayson Tatum’s heroics draw perfect responses from Marcus Smart, Al Horford originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
With his team’s season hanging in the balance, Jayson Tatum turned in perhaps his best playoff performance as a member of the Boston Celtics.
Tatum dropped 46 points in a 108-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks to force a Game 7 on Sunday, the second-highest point total of his postseason career. With 17 made field goals (on 32 attempts) Tatum also set a new personal best for the postseason, and joined Celtics legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones as the only player in franchise history with multiple postseason games with 45 points or more.
Don’t think that his teammates didn’t take notice of Tatum’s showing with the season on the line.
Celtics-Bucks takeaways: Tatum’s heroics help C’s force Game 7
“That’s why he gets paid the big bucks,” Smart said. “For moments like that.”
Al Horford, likewise, was effusive in his praise of Tatum, who shook off up-and-down performances earlier this series to deliver a long-awaited signature game for the Celtics.
“He took it to another level,” Horford said. “That’s what big time players do in moments like this. He’s a special player and he showed it tonight. He’s poised, knew when to shoot it and knew when to pass it, knew when to attack. We put a lot on him and he delivered.”
Smart and Horford were each great in Game 6 themselves. Smart had 21 points on 8 of 16 shooting — 5 of 9 from beyond the arc — and a team-high seven assists while Horford pulled in 10 rebounds to lead the team. But there’s no question that without the play of Tatum, the Celtics would be flying home to prepare for the offseason rather than a winner-take-all affair on Sunday.