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Tatum's Game 7 spectacle powers Celtics over 76ers, sets up Heat series

Brian Babineau / National Basketball Association / Getty

Jayson Tatum didn't shy from the Game 7 spotlight.

Tatum erupted for 51 points as the Boston Celtics dismantled the Philadelphia 76ers 112-88 to win their Eastern Conference semifinals series.

The Celtics will advance to face the Miami Heat in the conference finals for the third time in the last four seasons.

Tatum shot 6-of-10 from deep and 17-of-28 overall to set the mark for the most points in a Game 7 in NBA history. He unseated Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who owned the record for just two weeks after his 50-point showing against the Sacramento Kings on May 1. Tatum added 13 rebounds, five assists, and two steals as the Celtics ran away with the contest in the second half, turning a 55-55 game into a 30-point lead in the fourth.

The Celtics star is the first player in NBA history to record at least 50 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in a series-clinching victory, according to ESPN.

"When he plays a well-rounded game, our team is different," head coach Joe Mazzulla said postgame, courtesy of The Athletic's Jay King.

Jaylen Brown poured in 25 points with six rebounds for Boston, while Malcolm Brogdon contributed 12 points off the bench. Tobias Harris led the 76ers with 19 points in a contest in which neither James Harden nor Joel Embiid could find their scoring touch. Embiid finished with 15 points but shot 5-of-18 and 0-of-4 from distance, while Harden mustered just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting (1-of-5 for three).

The result is another disastrous elimination for the 76ers, who led the series 3-2 after winning Game 5. They've now failed to advance past the second round in six straight postseason trips.

With Boston now locked in to face Miami, both conference finals mirror those of the 2020 postseason, which occurred in the Disney World bubble. That year, the Heat topped the Celtics in six games, while the Los Angeles Lakers needed just five to eliminate the Denver Nuggets. Los Angeles went on to defeat Miami in six in The Finals to claim the franchise's 17th championship.

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