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tatum’s 46 in ‘signature game’ forces game 7
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antetokounmpo had 44 points, 20 rebounds and six assists, the third player in history to go 40/20/5 in the playoffs, the other two being chamberlain and o’neal. he has three 40-point, 10-rebound games in this series.
He is the third player to have three 40-point games against the Celtics in the playoffs. The other two are Jerry West in the historic 1969 final, when he won the MVP award despite the loss of the Los Angeles Lakers, and Lebron James, who did it in 2018 in one of the most prolific series of his career.
and tatum is right there with antetokounmpo. After outscoring Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant in points, rebounds, assists, steals and shooting in the first round, Tatum goes straight to the reigning MVP of this series finals.
Tatum had 46 points Friday, the second-most points for the Celtics in an elimination game in team history behind Hall of Famer Sam Jones. He has two 45-point games in this playoff run: something Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Paul Pierce or Bob Cousy never did for the Celtics.
as the bucks cut an 18-point lead to five with six minutes to go, memories of the celtics’ blown 14-point lead in the fourth quarter two days earlier came to mind, tatum hit a devastating 3-pointer long it broke the momentum at perhaps the most important moment of the night.
“this was our season on the line, and knowing that, you put it all on the floor,” tatum said. “That’s the mentality I have, the mentality we all have. I wasn’t going to leave anything lying around and not regret it.”
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Tatum and Antetokounmpo, while both blessed with the basketball trinity of height, versatility and skill, are quite different players. antetokounmpo grew up admiring magic johnson and kevin garnett. Tatum grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant. you can see it in his games. not the most natural pairing.
but that doesn’t matter. there’s no way to look at what they’ve done in the last two weeks and not want to see more.
making proclamations and predictions about how many times this duo could do this again is crazy. nothing is assured. but antetokounmpo is 27, tatum 24.
They’re going to play one more time this year. the winner will feel like he won a prize fight, and the loser will be devastated, waiting for another chance. what more can a basketball fan ask for?
“I was excited to play game 6,” said tatum. “This was a great moment for me and for the team. We believed, we really believed, that we could come here and win, and it showed.”
milwaukee: the rivalry between giannis antetokounmpo and jayson tatum is here. is defining the present of the Eastern Conference and may extend into the future.
antetokounmpo is putting numbers on wilt chamberlain and shaquille o’neal. tatum is breaking the records for all those retired jerseys for his storied 75-year-old franchise that has 17 championships.
and the boston celtics and milwaukee bucks haven’t even played game 7 yet.
this is a black and blue series, ice pack and advil counts increase per game. But Antetokounmpo and Tatum made art in Game 6 on Friday night, the Bucks star pummeling the Celtics with two-for-fours and the Celtics star countering with high-arc dagger jumps that cruelly prolonged every hit to the ball. devastated multitude of bucks.
the celtics won 108-95 to even the series, winning for the second time in milwaukee last week. visiting teams are 4-2, illustrating just how close these teams are.