On Friday night, with a chance to head to the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics fell short. Jimmy Butler exploded for 47 points, leading the Miami Heat to a win and sending the Eastern Conference Finals series to a Game 7 in Miami on Sunday.
While Butler led the game in scoring, Tatum led the Celtics. The First-Team All-NBA forward dropped 30 points, nine rebounds, and four assists on 9-of-12 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 shooting from deep. However, he paired that statline with seven turnovers.
After the game, Tatum was asked about Sunday’s Game 7 in Miami, stating that the Celtics understand the importance of the situation.
“It’s no secret,” Tatum said. “It’s Game 7, a trip to the NBA Finals, there’s a lot on the line. A couple of us have been in this situation before, so we know what’s at stake. We know how much this means to everybody. We know that going into the game.”
Tatum has appeared in three Eastern Conference Finals before this year, and his co-star, Jaylen Brown, has been in four. They aren’t newcomers to this position, but they have been unable to get over the hump up to this point.
However, despite the heartbreaking finish in Game 6, Tatum’s confidence is at an all-time high heading into Sunday.
Tatum’s Confidence is a ‘10’ Heading Into Sunday
During his post-game interview, Tatum was asked about his confidence level heading into Sunday night’s Game 7 tilt against the Heat. He said that it’s at a 10 because it “shouldn’t be anything less.”
“Scale of 1-10? 10,” Tatum declared. “It shouldn’t be any less than that, right? It’s the last game. This is what it’s all about. So, on a scale of 1-10, it’s a 10 for my confidence level in myself and the group.”
The Celtics have been great in games after a loss this season. Since February, they have only lost back-t-o-back games once, and have yet to do so in the postseason. In addition, they’ve been a great road team, holding a 6-2 away record in the playoffs so far.
Tatum and the Celtics are clearly hungry heading into Game 7, and that feeling was re-emphasized by Brown as well.
Brown Says Celtics Need ‘Short-Term Memory’
After a crushing defeat like the one Boston suffered in Game 6, moving forward is crucial. That’s what Brown emphasized during his post-game press conference.
“We’ve been, like I said, resilient all year, and this is a different test,” Brown explained. “Obviously, this game hurt to lose on our home floor. But we’ve gotta have a short-term memory. The team over there is hungry, they are experienced, so we gotta come out ready to go and almost just forget about last game. Gotta come out and have a great mentality.”
For the second series in a row, Boston will face elimination in a Game 7 situation. Only this time, they won’t be playing at TD Garden. They took down the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 last series in a blowout and will need to come with that same energy once again.
Game 7 is set to tip off on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time.