This is how rings are won. Or this way you put yourself in situations to win themwhich is already a lot. Matches and qualifiers like this are the ones that build legacies, those that build empires and feed legends. The final act, the definitive one, will be tomorrow (21:30, Spanish time), in the illustrious Garden of Boston. After six tremendous battles, from four away wins and that no team has won two games in a rowCeltics and Bucks will solve everything in the seventh, all or nothing. to blood and fire. All things considered, it could not be otherwise.
The Celtics won the sixth game (95-108) as they won the second and the fourth, after giving up the initiative of the tie but this time with extraordinary merit: because it was in the Fiserv Forum, the lair of the champion. Because they had to tame the will of a generational player like Giannis Antetokounmpo and because they had absolutely traumatically lost the fifth on their court to give an iron rival a match point in his den. There is no tougher, steeper situation in the 2022 NBA than the one the Celtics saved on a night that saw two massive presences, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum, and one absence whose shadow lengthens over these playoffs: Khris Middleton, again missed when the Bucks’ offensive problems were piling up.
Giannis, who knew it was the nightno excuses, played an extraordinary game: 44 points, 20 rebounds, 6 assists in almost 42 minutes. It was, by itself, the reason the Boston Celtics didn’t break up the game very soon., with his battery of triples in the first quarter (8/15 with four from Marcus Smart and three from Jayson Tatum). And, above all, it was the only way to explain that the Bucks had your moment, their change of wind in favor, despite the fact that they always seemed worse, more limited, in tow. However, andhe 50-68 lead in the third quarter became 81-85 with 8:42 remaining. The match where the champion wanted himthe season concentrated in a handful of minutes that he could handle based on physique, concentration, stands… and Giannis.
But there, precisely there, where they are written the stories that make history, where the playoffs give the NBA its true dimension, Jayson Tatum emergedthe player we have seen break into megastar this season (the lines were always there) and who, surely, we are now seeing consecrate himself as a legend of a team that makes them like few others in the entire history of sport: Boston Celtics. At that critical point in the fourth quarter, when another misstep would have sent his team on vacation, Tatum linked 10 points and won the necessary time (87-95 with 5:40 to play) for them to lend a hand Jaylen Brown (22 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and that Smart (21 + 5 + 7) who played with a huge personality 48 hours after being devoured by Jrue Holiday.
Tatum finished with 46 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 7/15 triples and +21 in his almost 44 minutes on the court. The Celtics were better… but I wouldn’t have won without him. His complements were much better than Giannis’s, but he He endured wonderful minutes face to face when the fury of the Greek intensified. With his feet firmly on the ground, his eyes fixed on Sunday and Boston Garden, without blinking, and instinct taking control in a feline way. If in the last quarter of the fifth game he gave too much thought to how to winthis time just won. She let his talent express itself like a hammer. If the Celtics win tomorrow, let alone win this ring, this Tatum game will be NBA history. It will be remembered forever.
The greenon a day when they could have shrunk, they shot very well from the start, to calm their nerves, and defended at their best (an insurmountable barricade) when the percentages dropped (17-25 in the second quarter, 8/25 in Bucks shots). It turned out that his heart hadn’t broken in Game 5, so at this point it’s legitimate to wonder if he ever will. or if these battles are, in fact, the way to the biggest festival in June, in Boston. The Bucks, for their part, sorely missed Middleton and his surgical hierarchy, his mid-range shots, his bouncing points. Without the shooting guard, they need to play much better than they did, Giannis on the sidelines. They need everything to work out for them and they were very far from that. Now, they’ve won two of the three games in the series at the Garden, they stole the fifth after falling into his house in the fourth and they arrive, again with a sheepskin that barely hides the wolf that stirs under it, to a seventh in which They will have everything against them… but in which Giannis Antetokounmpo will be on their side. And that, you know, is a guarantee that anything can happen.