Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum‘s historic 51-point outburst in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals sent the Philadelphia 76ers home with hung heads and bruises after a season that saw the Sixers center, Joel Embiid, win the NBA MVP Award.
The Celtics made it clear that there was only one basketball MVP on Boston’s famed parquet floor on Sunday, and that was Tatum.
The superstar out of Duke received plaudits from all over, with even Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili, a lifetime Spurs star with no soft spot for the Celtics, wrote midgame: “Tatum again!” with fire emojis lighting up his tweet.
Tatum again!! 🔥🔥 BOS +28. Chauuuuu. 👋— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) May 14, 2023
But it was Celtics legend and basketball Hall of Famer Paul Pierce who gave the most visceral sense of what Tatum had done to the 76ers, writing that Tatum “woke up today and chose violence. wow.”
Damn @jaytatum0 woke up today and chose violence 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾wow— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) May 14, 2023
Fans agreed, and busted out their Artificial Intelligence image-generating subscriptions to illustrate Pierce’s claim:
Truth! pic.twitter.com/4oJZFvVPRc— Kim Sheff (@GPDuckie) May 14, 2023
Tatum certainly did hit the Sixers hard, and they doubtlessly left the arena beaten, bruised and battered. If there’s anything Tatum was gentle with in Boston yesterday, it was the rim — for the rim Tatum chose a nonviolent approach. He took 28 shots, making 17, and on those that went in he barely hit the rim at all. Swish after swish went Tatum, his shots striking the net like so many Mike Tyson punches.