Celtics vs. Bucks: Jason Tatum, Giannis Antitokoumbo go hitting in a heavyweight bout for centuries

Celtics vs. Bucks: Jason Tatum, Giannis Antitokoumbo go hitting in a heavyweight bout for centuries

Giannis Antitokoumbo and Jason Tatum gave us a heavyweight fight for centuries on Friday, combining for 90 points in 62 shots. The Tatum Celtics took the victory, sending this series to a 7 game on Sunday.

He came down to help. Tatum, who finished with 46 points in 17 to 32 shots, got more. Jalen Brown and Marcus Smart combined for 43 points in nine three-pointers and both scored crucial three-pointers in the same phase. The top support that Antetokunbo received was 17 fairly quiet and ineffective points from Jrue Holiday. Except for Pat Connaughton’s 14 off the bench, no other Buck scored more than six points.

Tatum took matters into his own hands for the crucial extent of the game. The Bucks had reduced their lead by 14 points in Boston to four with just over eight minutes to play John 3 from the top of the key. The building was on fire. The Celtics were just ready to lose their grip. Tatum then jumped 10 straight in some of the silkest jumps you could ever design.

Less than three minutes later, Boston has a lead of 11 and was safe the rest of the way. Brown called it a “signature” show by Tatum and he’s right. Think of the history of the Boston Celtics, and Tatum is just now second player in franchise historywith Sam Jones, to post many 45-point playoff games.

Tatum’s 46 is also the second highest performance for a Boston player in a knockout game, tied with Paul Pierce. Tatum is also one of only five players in history to score more than 45 to force Game 7, joining LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Cowie Leonard and Jamal Murray.

Boston, apparently, in addition to their defense, has become a contender for the title because, in part, Tatum reduced the ball of the heroes, but the Celtics needed a hero in the 6th game and he went up. He was very effective on Friday, but like John, he was a clean guy.

Tatum has made 85 shots in his last three games. James Harden made two shots in the second half of Philly’s defeat at the end of the season on Thursday. He entered Game 6 scoring just 40 percent for the series, but was not going to leave quietly. It has no intention of turning off the bright lights.

You always hope for efficiency, but the relentless behavior of a great scorer is so much appreciated in such moments. John the same. No one else had it for Milwaukee, so he put his head down, literally, and scored 44 for the Bucks in 30 shots. He added 20 rebounds to join Shaquille O’Neal as the only player this century to record a 40-20 playoff game. Drop his six assists and he is left alone.

I was very late in Giannis’s band. I was, and will always be, skeptical of players who can not shoot and have to get to the edge (yes, I know that John has improved a lot as a midfielder even as a 3 point shooter, even if the numbers are very bad compared to the latter). But power is the functional term here.

Antitokunbo’s absolute refusal to deny him, his willingness to flirt and often commit uncontrollable accusations and upheavals downhill at times, his endless pursuit of offensive boards, the bodies that hang him as he grabs his own immediately loses and jumps , it is honestly exhausting to watch. But it never burns. It never stops coming. Harden once said that John had no ability, and I would be damned if a part of myself did not agree out of ignorance, but I am here to tell you, an engine like this in such a body is not just an ability, it is a superpower.

Tatum buckets are more beautiful. The Antitokunbo are inevitable. For this reason, I want to give the Bucks a slight advantage in Game 7, despite Boston’s home advantage. John will be around 40. I would bet almost anything on it. Tatum, however, has more reliable assists on Brown and Smart and I would bet on a big game with Al Horford. The absence of Khris Middleton could really be felt in the individual creation of a tense Game 7 on half court.

Anyway, what a quarrel we had between two of the best players in the game on Friday. Given the mentality of these men, I would not be surprised if we had a sequel on Sunday.

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