The Celtics reached a second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals after defeating the 76ers on Wednesday night. And, as he has done so often recently, rookie forward Jayson Tatum led the Celtics in scoring.
The 20-year-old’s consistency on the offensive end has been so routine that reminders of his age have become a running Twitter joke. Notching 25 points, it was the seventh consecutive game in which Tatum scored at least 20.
And his last two points of the night helped to clinch the series win:
JAYSON TATUM FOR THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/ia6eIV1eb3
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 10, 2018
Pushed into a much more prominent role due to injuries, Tatum has flashed not merely the ability, but the consistency which made him worthy of Danny Ainge’s bold decision to trade down from the first overall pick a year ago.
In the process (no pun intended), he’s managed to join two notable names in NBA history:
Jayson Tatum scored 25 PTS in Game 5 to help the @celtics advance! He becomes the 3rd player in #NBAPlayoffs history to score 25+ PTS in a series-clinching win at age 20 or younger, joining Magic Johnson (42 PTS, 1980) and Tony Parker (27 PTS, 2003). #SAPStatLineOfTheNight pic.twitter.com/sDmjEA1pXA
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) May 10, 2018
And speaking of Johnson and Parker, Tatum recently joined a historic list of names in playoff scoring.
Among NBA players under 21, only five in league history have crossed the threshold of 200 playoff points. With his Game 5 performance, Tatum is officially at 226. Here’s the list:
Kobe Bryant: 328 (28 games played)
Tony Parker: 325 (22 games played)
Magic Johnson: 293 (16 games played)
Jayson Tatum: 226 (12 games played)
Bradley Beal: 211 (11 games played)
Clearly, it’s elite company for Tatum to be in. If he continues his torrid pace of postseason scoring, he could pass Johnson in four games.
— NBA (@NBA) May 10, 2018
Regardless of how the rest of the playoffs turns out for the Celtics, the 20-year-old rookie has won deserved plaudits.