Jayson Tatum scored 51 points — the most in a seventh game in NBA history — and the Boston Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 112-88 on Sunday to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight year.
One game after missing 14 of his first 15 shots from the field only waking up in the fourth quarter, Tatum got the fast start the Celtics needed. He scored 25 points in a tight first half and 17 more in a third quarter Boston won 33-10, turning a three-point lead into a rally.
The Celtics, who lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals last year, will face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, which begin Wednesday in Boston.
Tatum added 13 rebounds and Jaylen Brown scored 25 points for the Celtics, who rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the best-of-seven series to keep their hopes of an unprecedented 18th NBA championship alive. Tatum was taken out of the game with three minutes remaining to a standing ovation.
For its part, the Denver Nuggets will face the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference of the NBA. It should be remembered that Denver is the only one of the four finalists who has not lifted the NBA trophy.