Jayson Tatum On His 46 Point Outing: ‘This Was a Big Moment For All of Us’

The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks are headed to a winner-take-all Game 7 after Jayson Tatum torched the Bucks for 46 points, nine rebounds, and four assists on 53.1 percent shooting from the field in a game-high 43 minutes of action.

The St. Loius legend outdueled Giannis Antetokounmpo (44 points, 20 rebounds, and six assists), responding to a challenging Game 6 loss at the perfect time to force a pivotal Game 7. The Celtics’ 108-96 win was cemented by Tatum’s 16 points effort in the fourth quarter.

“I wasn’t going to leave anything out there and have any regrets,” Tatum said. “Just trying to do what it took.”

Tatum’s primetime effort was a response to the Greek Freak unleashing an 8-0 to cut a 14-point deficit to within four with just eight minutes to go in Game 6. The Celtics then responded with their own burst led by Tatum. The former Duke Blue Devil scored Boston’s next 11 points on a fadeaway, plus a pair of three-pointers.

The Celtics then went on their own 8-0 run, powered by two triples from Tatum and Jaylen Brown and punctuated by a Marcus Smart step-back to give Boston a 100-87 lead with 4:20 remaining in the game.

“I was excited to play today,” Tatum said when asked what got him going during Friday’s Game 6. “Game 6, this is a big moment for all of us. For myself and the team, how we would respond. Losing Game 5 was gonna make us or break us, and I think we showed a lot of toughness and growth coming out here and getting a win on the road and giving us a chance.

Game 7 between the Celtics and the defending champion Bucks will shift back to Boston on Sunday. The last time these two teams met in a Game 7 setting was in 2018, with the Celtics prevailing at home, 112-96. This year, the Celtics-Bucks semifinal series has been entertaining and intense but has yet to feature a winner that has won more than two games in a row.