Celtics’ Jayson Tatum joins childhood hero Kobe Bryant in epic 3-man NBA Playoffs club

Celtics’ Jayson Tatum joins childhood hero Kobe Bryant in epic 3-man NBA Playoffs club


Celtics star Jayson Tatum hits a new milestone in the playoffs.

After the Boston Celtics suffered an embarrassing loss in Game 2 to the banged-up Miami Heat, many believed that Jayson Tatum and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference were in major trouble. No one is singing the same tune this time, though, as Boston just reminded Miami and everyone else why it entered the NBA Playoffs as a heavy favorite to get out of the first round versus the Heat.

Tatum, as expected, played a huge role for the Celtics in Game 3 even though he shot just 6/16 from the field for 22 points in 39 minutes of action on the floor. He could have shot more efficiently but the Celtics will take a win anyway they can. The former Duke Blue Devils star added six assists, 11 rebounds, and a block in Boston’s huge statement win in Game 2 versus the Jimmy Butler-less Heat.

Plus, Tatum did more than just enough to finally reach the 3,000-point scoring plateau in the playoffs and join his childhood basketball idol Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James in an extremely exclusive all-time club (via StatMuse).

“Players with over 3,000 playoff points before turning 27 years old: Kobe, LeBron, Tatum. That’s the list.”

Tatum, who just turned 26 last March, can also thank the status of the Celtics as a legitimate title contender when he entered the league in 2019 for his early experience in playing postseason basketball in the pro. Boston has also played in the playoffs in each of Tatum’s seasons in the NBA thus far. The Celtics had a deep run in the 2017 NBA Playoffs with Kyrie Irving leading Boston to an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.

They reached the second round of the playoffs in 2019 and then returned to the East Finals in 2020. Their deepest playoff run to date with Tatum remains their appearance in the 2022 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors under Ime Udoka. So far in his career in the NBA, Tatum’s 615 points in the 2022 NBA Playoffs are still his most in a single postseason trip. Given that the Celtics are a favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2024 NBA Finals, it’s fair to expect Tatum to surpass that personal best.

Through three games against the Heat, Tatum has scored a total of 73 points on 42.6 percent shooting from the floor.

Jayson Tatum, Celtics regain control of series vs. Heat

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics’ 104-84 win over the Heat in Game 3 on the road was a crucial one for Boston, to say the least. A Miami win in that contest would’ve put further pressure on the shoulders of Boston, which got stunned by Miami in Game 2 at home to the tune of a 111-101 score. Apart from Tatum, the Celtics also leaned on Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis in Game 2, as they scored 22 and 18 points, respectively. Porzingis personified the Celtics’ recovery, as he came up with a much better performance on Saturday than the one he had in Game 2 in which he only posted six points on an atrocious 1/9 shooting from the floor. Defensively, the Celtics’ success in South Beach can also be attributed to their holding off Miami to just 9/28 performance from behind the arc.

Now that they have the series lead back, the Celtics will look to sustain their form and get to a two-game lead with another win on Sunday in Miami before Game 6 at home on Thursday.

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