a rivalry that could define the East for years

Tatum is 24. One idolized Magic and KG, the other Kobe. We are witnessing a duel between two stars that could define the NBA for a generation.

USA About: Celtics Publish: 05/14/2022 Edit: 05/14/2022 Author: Gardener


the East forJayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo combine for 90 points in an incredible Game 6 in which the Celtics come out on top. Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo combine for 90 points in an incredible Game 6 in which the Celtics come out on top. MILWAUKEE — The rivalry between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum is here. Antetokounmpo lists numbers from Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal. Tatum breaks all those retired jersey records for his 75-year-old 17-championship franchise. And the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks haven't even played Game 7 yet. This is a black and blue series, the Ice Pack and Advil go up with the game. But Antetokounmpo and Tatum made art in Game 6 on Friday night, the Bucks star beat the Celtics two-by-fours and the Celtics star responded with high-arched dagger leaps that cruelly prolonged each strike at the devastated Bucks crowd. The Celtics won 108-95 to even the series and won for the second time in Milwaukee last week. Antetokounmpo had 44 points, 20 rebounds and six assists, becoming the third player in history to have a 40/20/5 game in the playoffs, the other two being Chamberlain and O'Neal. He has three games with 40 points and 10 rebounds in that streak. He is the third player ever to have three 40-point games against the Celtics in the playoffs. The other two are Jerry West in the historic 1969 finals, when he won the MVP despite losing the Los Angeles Lakers, and LeBron James, who made it in 2018 in one of the most successful series of his career. And Tatum is right there with Antetokounmpo. After outperforming, passing, assisting, passing, and passing Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant in the first round, Tatum goes straight to the current MVP of the Finals in that series. Tatum had 46 points Friday, the second most points for the Celtics in an elimination game in team history behind only Hall of Famer Sam Jones. He has two 45-point games in this playoff run — something Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Paul Pierce or Bob Cousy have never achieved for the Celtics. As the Bucks reduced an 18-point lead to five with six minutes left — memories of the Celtics' 14-point lead in the fourth quarter two days earlier springing to mind — Tatum hit a devastatingly long 3-pointer that ended the broke momentum in perhaps the biggest moment of the night. "This was our season at stake and knowing that, leave everything on the ground," Tatum said. They all came to the Fiserv Forum expecting to see the Bucks win - and why not? This title-winning group had won their last eight closeout play opportunities. After a dud in Game 3, where he played his worst game of the postseason and shot 4/19, Tatum vowed to get better. Tatum has averaged 37 points and 9.3 rebounds in his last three games. Even more valuable were the big shots in the fourth quarter, where Tatum scored 16 goals. It was exactly the kind of effort a superstar puts on in elimination games. "That's why he gets paid big money for moments like this," said Marcus Smart, who scored 21 points. "I kept telling him 'just be you man' the whole game. He was." Antetokounmpo, playing without the injured Khris Middleton, has upped his already unfathomable performance. He's averaged 35.3 points, 13.8 rebounds and 6.8 assists in the streak. He went 14 by on Friday night 15 at the foul line Tatum and Antetokounmpo, while both blessed with the basketball trinity of height, versatility and skill, are very different players Antetokounmpo grew up admiring Magic Johnson and Kevin Garnett Tatum grew up with the idol of Kobe Bryant up. You can see that in their games. But Antetokounmpo is 27, Tatum is 24. They will play again this year. "I was excited to play Game 6," Tatum said. "It was a big moment for me and that Team. We believed, we really believed that we could come in here and win and it showed."


Keywords: Tatum, Bucks, Game 6, two, three, Celtics, Friday, Giannis Antetokounmpo, third, second, 90, 40, 14, MVP, night, 3, six, 20, eight, five, first, one, 108-95, 75-year-old, 2018, 1969, 46, 44, 37, 27, 24, 21, 16, 10, this year, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett Tatum, Magic Johnson, 6.8, 13.8, 35.3

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