Boston Celtics

The Celtics needed a win. They got the game of Jayson Tatum’s life.

Tatum dominated in a do-or-die situation for the Celtics on Friday night, leading all scorers with 46 points to power a 108-95 win in Game 6 over the Milwaukee Bucks that kept Boston’s season alive. Tatum added nine rebounds and four assists, and was 7-of-15 from three-point range. His 46 points were the second-most of his playoff career and the most he’s ever scored when facing elimination.

The Bucks lost despite 44 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who also pulled down 20 rebounds. He posted the first 40-point, 20-rebound playoff game since Shaquille O’Neal in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals, when he also got 44 and 20.

After coming back from down 14 in the fourth quarter of Game 5 to beat the Celtics, the Bucks again put a scare into them in Game 6, starting the fourth quarter with an 11-1 run to cut the deficit from 14 to six. Tatum then scored 10 straight Celtics points, and baskets by Brown and Smart put the Celtics back up as much as 13. Tatum scored 16 points in the fourth quarter alone.

The Celtics had to fend off multiple Bucks comebacks throughout the game. They jumped out to an early 15-6 lead, on the strength of nine first-quarter points for Tatum. Milwaukee then answered with an 18-5 run of their own to take a four-point lead. Boston recovered to take a two-point advantage into the second, then continued to extend it. Thanks to balanced first-half scoring between Tatum (18 points), Marcus Smart (16), Jaylen Brown (eight), and Derrick White’s nine points off the bench, the C’s went to halftime with a 53-43 lead. They did most of their offensive damage from three-point range (11-of-25 in the first half).

The Celtics’ offensive momentum carried over into the third quarter, when they went up by as many as 18 points. Jaylen Brown came alive here, with nine of his 22 in the third. Tatum drained a three-pointer with 12 seconds left in the third to get the lead back to as much as 15. The Bucks surged back into it from there, but Tatum answered with a closeout of his own.

PHOTOS: Celtics take on Bucks in Game 6 of 2022 playoff series

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.