Celtics' Jayson Tatum Says Confidence '10 Out of 10' Before Game 7 vs. Heat

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 28, 2022

BOSTON, MA - MAY 27: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dribbles the ball during Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals on May 27, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Despite falling to the Miami Heat on their home court in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night, the Boston Celtics and star forward Jayson Tatum are undeterred.

According to ESPN's Tim Bontemps, Tatum said his confidence is unshaken ahead of Sunday's decisive Game 7: "Scale of 1 to 10? Ten. I mean, it shouldn't be any less than that, right? You know, it's the last game. That's what it's all about. It's a 10-out-of-10 in my confidence level and the group."

With the Heat scoring a 111-103 victory in Game 6, the series will now shift back to Miami for Game 7, with the winners moving on to face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

While the Heat led for much of Game 6, Boston took a 97-94 lead with 4:43 left and had Miami on the brink of elimination.

The Heat went on a 17-6 the rest of the way, though, to send things back home for a seventh and final game.

Perhaps the biggest difference for the Heat in Game 6 compared to their losses in Games 4 and 5 was the re-emergence of Jimmy Butler, who put the team on his back in a must-win situation.

After struggling mightily in the previous two games on the heels of suffering a knee injury in Game 3, Butler scored a game-high 47 points on 16-of-29 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

Veteran guard Kyle Lowry bounced back from some poor efforts as well, recording 18 points, 10 assists and four boards in the win.

Boston got 30 points out of Tatum, 20 points out of Jaylen Brown and a surprising 22 points off the bench from Derrick White, but it still wasn't enough to close out the pesky Heat.

A Celtics team led by Tatum and Brown has yet to reach the NBA Finals, whereas the Heat are just two years removed from their most recent NBA Finals appearance with Butler leading the way.

Also, Lowry was a key figure in the Toronto Raptors reaching and winning the 2019 NBA Finals, so the Heat undoubtedly have the edge in big-game experience.

Boston persevered after a slow start this season and established itself as one of the NBA's top teams, however, lending credence to Tatum's confidence.

On Sunday, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals will emanate from FTX Arena in Miami at 8:30 p.m. ET.