The Philadelphia 76ers needed to make a statement against the East leading Boston Celtics and for most of Saturday night’s thrilling matchup between the rivals, they did. But, at the end, Jayson Tatum and the Green got the best of the Sixers…yet again.
In nailing a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left in the game, Tatum sent the Celtics home with another victory at the Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The buzzer beater capped a 15-point comeback for the C’s, who didn’t get Tatum’s best offensive performance, but he was clutch when he needed to be.
Though a last second heave by Joel Embiid nearly sent the game into overtime, the win will go down as one of the most memorable regular-season wins for the Celtics.
Why? Because it exemplified a team that is never out of a game, especially when they execute on both ends of the court like they can.
Even on a night where Tatum scored just 18 points, this team can beat any team, anywhere.
"“Regardless of how he’s playing, he’s going to be ready to execute that next play,” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said following the game. “So I thought he did a great job making the play there. I thought (Marcus) Smart did a great job passing. I thought Jaylen (Brown) did a great job in that second stint when we won minutes when he was out there because of his offense in transition and his defensive execution.”"
Boston Celtics got plenty from other players with Jayson Tatum struggled
Tatum’s buzzer beater in Philly wouldn’t have been possible had other players not stepped up.
Brown did his thing, but if there was another player to point out in this victory, it is 36-year-old Al Horford who scored 15 points overall. Most of those came in the third quarter when he went a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc to help the Boston Celtics erase a 15-point deficit.
In sticking it to his old team, Horford kept the Celtics in this game setting up the dramatic finish that put the ball in the hands of the reigning NBA All-Star Game MVP. In adding 18 points of his own, Derrick White called his teammate a special player in moments like that.
"“Got it to JT at the top and he’s special,” White said, via MassLive.com. “He made a big play and we have all the faith and trust in the world in him. He got a good look and knocked it down for us. I knew they didn’t have any timeouts, so I was just trying to make it tough. It looked good from the moment (Embiid) shot it but thankfully it was after the buzzer. I didn’t know at the time but I’m thankful.”"
Even if Embiid’s shot did count, it looked like all the momentum was on the side of Tatum and the Celtics, because a special player found a way to take over the game late. That is the mark of an NBA MVP and the resume of an elite player coming into his own.
Whether he is scoring 50-plus points or just 18, Boston Celtics fans are watching a SPECIAL player come into his own.
Man, he’s special!