Duke basketball: Jayson Tatum silences critics with gut-check 4th quarter

Duke basketball standout Jayson Tatum (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball standout Jayson Tatum (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball star Jayson Tatum was able to redeem himself in Philadelphia. 

It was shaping up to be a catastrophic night for former Duke basketball stud Jayson Tatum.

His Boston Celtics, coming off a blowout loss at home to the Philadelphia 76ers, were facing elimination on the road and the newly minted First Team All-NBA selection could not have envisioned a worse start in his nightmares.

Tatum was 0-for-10 from the field at halftime and became just the third player since 1996-97 to not make a field goal in the first half with at least 10 attempts, joining Michael Jordan and James Harden.

However, the Celtics still led by seven, 50-43, at intermission.

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Things did not get much better in the third quarter for the Blue Devil, although he did make his first field goal attempt.

Entering the fourth quarter Tatum was 1-for-13 from the field, missed all six of his 3-point attempts, and had just three points as the 76ers rallied to take a lead in to the final frame.

Well, Tatum woke up.

The four-time All-Star posted 16 points in the final 12 minutes, outscoring the entire 76ers team (13 points), on 4-for-8 shooting from the floor and 4-of-5 from 3-point range as Boston would force a Game Seven on Sunday night, 95-86.

Duke basketball product saves best for last

Jayson Tatum finished with 19 points on 5-of-21 shooting with nine rebounds and six assists and turned an offseason filled with hate and criticism into an opportunity to put the Celtics back in the Eastern Conference Finals with one more victory.

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“Humbly, I’m one of the best basketball players in the world,” Tatum told ESPN sideline reporter Cassidy Hubbarth on the court after the game when asked about how he remained confident in himself despite his struggles.

Game Seven is slated for Sunday, May 14 in Boston but a tipoff time has not been announced as the NBA awaits to see if there will be a winner-take-all game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.

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