With their season on the brink, the Celtics needed their best players to rise to the occasion in Game 3 on Friday. All-Star Jayson Tatum proved more than able to answer the call.
Tatum proved too much for the Nets to handle, scoring 50 points on 16-for-30 shooting as the Celtics won Game 3, 125-119, in front of a raucous home crowd.
The signature performance made Tatum the sixth player in Celtics history to score 50 points in a playoff game. He was just four points shy of John Havlicek's franchise record of 54 points.
At 23 years and 86 days old, Tatum became the third-youngest player in NBA history to score 50 points in a postseason game, behind only Hall of Famers Rick Barry (23 years, 21 days) and Michael Jordan (23 years, 62 days).
After losing the first two games of the series by double digits, Boston fell behind by 15 points early in the first quarter before quickly regaining control of the game. The Celtics led by four at halftime and by as many as 17 late in the third quarter.
The Nets kept the game close from there, though Boston was able to keep Brooklyn mostly at arm's length. Boston prevented Nets point guard Kyrie Irving from finding his rhythm, as the former Celtic was limited to just 16 points on 6-for-17 shooting.
James Harden led the Nets with 41 points and 10 assists, while Kevin Durant scored 39 points with nine rebounds. The Celtics will try to even the series in Game 4 on Sunday.
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