BOSTON — Before the game on Sunday afternoon, Jaylen Brown took advantage of his prominent platform to convey a definite message to the Celtics fans: Shout as loud as you can. According to him, the atmosphere at TD Garden for the team’s home games during the N.B.A. Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers had been just OK.
Brown was successful in getting what he wanted for Game 7 on Sunday. It was noisy when I got there early, and it was loud when I left. Every dunk, every 3-pointer, every defensive stop, and every offensive rebound was met with cheers from the audience.
When Boston’s Jayson Tatum stepped near the center circle late in the fourth quarter, in the waning moments of a tour de force and the best game of his career, he begged the crowd for even more noise. At that point, he was in the waning stages of a tour de force and the best game of his career. They were delighted to be of service.
When the Celtics departed the court after their 112-88 triumph, the crowd was still roaring for them. This victory ended the best-of-seven series and ensured that Boston would still have a chance to win the championship.
Tatum, who had not exactly played faultless basketball during the series, was amazing on Sunday, scoring 51 points, which is an NBA record for a Game 7 performance. Tatum was named to the first team of All-NBA, despite the fact that he had not played flawless basketball. In the victory, Brown contributed 25 points. The Celtics had a lead of up to 30 points at one point.
Tatum stated, “That’s when I’m at my best, when I’m having fun,” adding that he made an effort to channel his enthusiasm for the game from when he was a child. “The game opens up when you go out there and relax, and kind of think back to those days when you were at the Y.M.C.A. or whatever,”
The third-seeded 76ers, who had their own championship dreams, are almost certainly looking at an off-season full of uncertainty after suffering a crushing defeat. But Joel Embiid of Philadelphia, who just won his first NBA Most Valuable Player award, struggled in Game 7 and finished with just 15 points while shooting just 5 of 18 from the floor. The 76ers lost the game and the series. Only nine points were scored by the Sixers guard James Harden.
Embiid referred to the Celtics as “the best team in the league” when discussing the competition. “They have a lot of people who can play terrific basketball, and they have so many quality players overall. Even though we were defeated by them across seven games, I felt that we gave it our best shot.”The No. 2 seed in the East, the Celtics, put the game out of reach in the third quarter with a strong run that included back-to-back 3-pointers by Brown and Tatum. The fourth quarter was more like a party than the end of a playoff series that was otherwise very close.