On Sunday, Jayson Tatum arrived at TD Garden wearing a hot pink button-down shirt with the number "7" circled on the back. He then went on to score more points than any NBA player has ever in a game on the line.
The 25-year-old Boston Celtics forward buried the Philadelphia 76ers under the weight of an enthralling home crowd by scoring 17 of his Game 7-record 51 points in a masterful third quarter.
In the 112-88 victory, he scored more points than Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry did two weeks prior.
When renowned sportswriter Bob Ryan, whose career covering the Celtics began shortly after Bill Russell's 11th and final championship in 1969, tells you that Tatum's accomplishment was the greatest Game 7
he has ever seen live from someone wearing a Celtics uniform, you knew the night was special. (Ryan will mention that he was in Los Angeles for Larry Bird's 39-12-10 against the New York Knicks in Game 7 of the second round.)
"You never know what might happen," Ryan remarked. "That's the reason you come,"
Nobody arrived as early as Tatum. In the first minute of the second half, with the score tied at 55-all, he transcended. During a 28-3 run that suffocated the Sixers,
Tatum scored 10 straight points, including two step-back 3-pointers over the reigning MVP Joel Embiid. It's over. series is done. Until tomorrow, good night.