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Feb. 26, 2023

Jayson Tatum's Clutch Plays Leading Up to the Game-Winner vs 76ers

Let's be real; it wasn't pretty for much of the night. The Celtics were sloppy, giving the ball away too often, and the Sixers capitalized on it. But when it mattered most, Tatum stepped up in a big way.

Some might argue that Tatum's shooting struggles throughout the game overshadowed his game-winner. But to those people, I say: did you even watch the game? Tatum wasn't the best for the first three quarters, but he never stopped fighting. And when it came down to the final seconds, he showed us why he's one of the best players in the league.

Let's break down that final play. With 10.1 seconds left on the clock, the Celtics had the ball, which was tied up at 107-107. Tatum got the ball and was fouled by the Sixers, who still had a foul to give. With just 5.2 seconds left, the Celtics called another timeout and returned to the same set they were in.

That's when Tatum took over. He got the ball, dribbled at full speed, and stopped behind the 3-point line and got a clean shot over De'Anthony Melton. And what did he do? He nailed it. The shot went in, and the Sixers' heave right after didn't count. That was it. Game over. Celtics win 110-107.

And let's remember Tatum's clutch plays leading up to that moment. First, he hit a 3-pointer to put the Celtics up 102-97 with just over three minutes left. He assisted Al Horford on another 3-pointer, putting the Celtics up 105-103 with 1:38 to go. And on the Celtics' ensuing possession, he crashed the boards following Grant Williams's 3-point miss, tipping the ball in to put the Celtics up 107-103 with just one minute left.

Now, some people will say that Tatum had a lousy shooting night overall. And yeah, he wasn't as hot as he could have been. He shot just 6-of-16 from the field with 15 points before that game-winner. But here's the thing: Tatum didn't let that get to him. Instead, he stayed confident, kept fighting, and ultimately delivered when it mattered most.

That's what makes Jayson Tatum such a special player. He's not just skilled; he's also mentally tough. He knows how to stay composed under pressure, and he knows how to rise to the occasion when his team needs him most. That's the kind of player that wins championships.

Speaking of championships, let's talk about the Celtics' chances this year. Sure, they've had some ups and downs this season. They've had injuries, and they haven't always been playing at their best. But with Tatum leading the way and with the rest of this talented squad behind him, I believe they've got a real shot at bringing home a championship this year.

So here's what I'm saying, Celtics fans: don't sleep on Jayson Tatum. 

Don't underestimate what he's capable of, even on a night when he's not at his best. Because when the game is on the line, and the pressure is at its highest, he's the guy you want with the ball in his hands. And that's why he's the future of this franchise and the future of the NBA.