BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics are off to the real NBA playoffs thanks to a monster performance by Jayson Tatum.
Tatum was at a superstar level on Tuesday night, scoring 50 points to lead the Celtics to a 118-100 play-in win over the Washington Wizards in Boston. The win secures the 7-seed in the Eastern Conference for the Celtics, who now get to play the 2-seeded Brooklyn Nets in the first round.READ MORE: Cam Newton May Be Back On Field This Week For Patriots Mandatory Minicamp
Tatum had just about everything going on Tuesday night, hitting 14 of the 32 shots that he took. He finished 5-for-12 from three-point range, and hit all 17 of his free throws. He didn’t force many shots, and there were times when he simply didn’t miss.
Kemba Walker also had a big game with 29 points and seven rebounds, which helped make up for the absence of Jaylen Brown, who is out for the postseason after undergoing wrist surgery last week. Tristan Thompson had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics off the bench.
Boston held a six-point lead after the opening frame against Washington, but shot just 7-for-24 in the second quarter. Bradley Beal shook off his hamstring injury and a 1-for-5 start to score 11 points off 5-for-7 shooting in the second, and the Wizards took a 54-52 lead into halftime.READ MORE: Blue Jays Slug 5 Homers In 7-2 Victory Over Red Sox
But the Celtics came out of halftime on fire, starting the third quarter on a 17-2 run that was all Tatum and Walker. Tatum started the quarter with a three-point play, and after Beal scored for the Wizards, Walker drained three straight threes for Boston. Tatum drained a three of his own to put Boston on top 69-56, and just kept scoring after that.
Tatum finished with 23 points in the third quarter and had 41 entering the fourth, with Boston holding a 90-80 advantage. The lead jumped up to 18 midway through the fourth quarter when Tatum drained a step back three over Davis Bertans — then his 48th points of the night. He reached 50 points with four minutes to go in the game.
Now we’ll see what Tatum can do against one of the best teams in the East. The undermanned Celtics will now have to take on against a team led by Kevin Durant, James Harden and former Boston guard Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics lost all three matchups against the Nets during the regular season, despite Durant and Harden each appearing in just one of those matchups. Irving averaged 30.7 points in his three games against his former team, including a 40-point outburst in March.MORE NEWS: Verdugo, Red Sox Rally From 4 Down, Top Blue Jays 6-5 In 9th
Game 1 of the Boston-Brooklyn series is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday night.