Jayson Tatum put the Boston Celtics on his back in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at Fiserv Forum, finishing with 46 points in a 108-95 victory to force a Game 7 at TD Garden.
Even Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo lauded Tatum for his "unbelievable" performance during his postgame press conference.
"He was unbelievable. He was knocking down shots, tough shots. ... You've got to give him credit. He played unbelievable. He led his team to a win," Antetokounmpo told reporters. "As I said, made a lot of tough shots. Like, I think like as a team, we were doing a good job, you know, like being in front of him, you know, make him shoot contested threes, contested twos. But he made them. You know, and you've got to respect that. He played unbelievable."
Tatum was the driving force behind Boston's Game 6 win. He shot 17-of-32 from the floor and 7-of-15 from beyond the arc, in addition to putting up nine rebounds, four assists and one block.
It was, without question, his best performance of this year's playoffs. However, he has impressed nearly every time he has stepped on the court this spring. The 24-year-old entered Friday's game averaging 26.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals and one block through nine playoff games.
Celtics star Jaylen Brown said Tatum's performance was part of a "signature game" for the Celtics, and head coach Ime Udoka lauded Tatum for his "huge night." Some of the NBA's best players also took to Twitter to share their thoughts about Tatum's performance.
Speaking with reporters Following Friday's win, Tatum said knowing that a Game 6 loss would've ended the Celtics season was enough to get him going.
"Knowing that if we lost, our season would be over with. I was excited to play Game 6," Tatum said. "This was a big moment for all of us—for myself and the team—for how we would respond."
Tatum will need to be just as dominant, if not more dominant, in Game 7 on home court this weekend. A chance for a 2020 Eastern Conference Finals rematch against the Miami Heat should be enough to fuel the Celtics entering the biggest game of their season to date.
Game 7 between the Celtics and Bucks is slated for Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET in Boston.