BOSTON — Jayson Tatum gave Boston a long-overdue quick begin and adopted it up with a end the NBA had by no means seen earlier than.

After struggling in back-to-back video games, Tatum erupted for 51 factors – probably the most in a Recreation 7 in historical past — and the Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 112-88 on Sunday to advance to the Jap Convention finals for the second straight yr.

One sport after lacking 14 of his first 15 pictures solely to awaken within the fourth quarter in time to avoid wasting their season, Tatum scored 25 within the back-and-forth first half and 17 extra in Boston’s 33-10 third quarter that turned a three-point lead right into a runaway.

The Celtics, who misplaced to the Golden State Warriors within the NBA Finals final yr, will face the Miami Warmth within the East finals for the second straight season. Recreation 1 is on Wednesday in Boston.

“I used to be relieved simply to get one other probability. Our season may have been over after Recreation 6,” mentioned Tatum, who broke the Recreation 7 file of fifty factors Stephen Curry set two weeks in the past. “It undoubtedly was on my thoughts that I had performed as dangerous because it may get, for 43 minutes.

“We had a saying: ‘It’s solely up from right here.’”

Tatum added 13 rebounds and Jaylen Brown scored 25 factors for Boston, which rallied from a 3-2 deficit within the sequence to maintain alive their hopes for an unprecedented 18th NBA championship.

Jayson Tatum celebrates through the Celtics’ Recreation 7 win over the 76ers on Might 14.
USA TODAY Sports activities

Jayson Tatum scored 51 points in Game 7 against the Sixers
Jayson Tatum scored 51 factors in Recreation 7 towards the Sixers on Might 14.

“You at all times come right into a sequence with the expectation of the way it’s presupposed to go,” mentioned Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla, who’s in his first yr as an NBA head coach after being promoted on the eve of coaching camp after Ime Udoka was suspended. “That’s not how the playoffs are.”

Tatum was subbed out of the sport with three minutes left to a standing ovation from the group, which quickly broke out in a “Beat the Warmth!” chant. M

iami beat Boston in six video games within the 2020 East finals and the Celtics took a seven-game matchup final season.

“It’s the perfect time of the yr,” Tatum mentioned. “As a competitor, I like the chance.”

Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid upset in Recreation 7 with simply 15 factors because the 76ers fell to the Celtics on Might 14.
Getty Photographs

Newly topped NBA MVP Joel Embiid scored 15 factors on 5-for-18 taking pictures, and Tobias Harris scored 19 for Philadelphia.

The Sixers misplaced within the convention semifinals for the third straight yr, and the fifth time in six seasons; they haven’t gotten any farther since reaching the NBA Finals in 2001 regardless of “The Course of” — tanking their solution to 4 top-three draft picks in a row, together with Embiid.

“I assumed we had the appropriate group. I actually did,” mentioned Sixers coach Doc Rivers, who was on the Boston bench when the Celtics received all of it in 2008. “We performed nice all yr and this loss completely diminishes what we did this yr not directly. … I feel this crew is headed proper. I assumed we took one other step this season. After which tonight I feel we took a step backward. However that’s OK. That occurs, too.”

Tatum began 0 for six in a Recreation 5 loss and missed 14 of his first 15 pictures general from the ground in Recreation 6 earlier than making 4 3-pointers within the last 4:14 to pressure the decisive seventh sport.

He picked up the place he left off, scoring Boston’s first basket and 11 factors within the first quarter, 14 extra within the second and outscoring the Sixers on his personal, 17-10, within the third.

The 33-10 edge within the third was probably the most lopsided quarter in a Recreation 7 since at the least 1997.

“JT simply bought it going and get out of that man’s manner,” Brown mentioned. “He bought it rolling, and there’s nothing they may do to cease him.”