NBA Draft

Jayson Tatum Crowned First Larry Bird Trophy Winner

The Boston Celtics are on their way to their first NBA Finals since 2010 after the C’s beat the Miami Heat, 100-96, on the road in Game 7.

The Celtics’ Eastern Conference Finals series win was largely thanks to their efforts of inaugural Larry Bird winner, Jayson Tatum. Tatum finally helped the Celtics get over the ECF hump after three tries since Boston drafted him third overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Celtics have made four conference finals appearances since 2016.

The former Duke Blue Devil finished Game 7 with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in 47 outstanding minutes. He averaged 24.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game for the series, never ceasing to make the most critical plays when Beantown needed him to make them. Tatum put together the sublime Game 7 performance while wearing a No. 24 armband in honor of mentor Kobe Bryant.

“It’s a great honor,” Tatum said. “This is my third time, and to get over the hump with this group, it means everything. So i couldn’t be prouder of these guys — the road that we took to get here, not a lot of people believed in us. We took the toughest route, and it worked out.”

The 2022 NBA Finals begin on June 2, with Golden State hosting Game 1 taking place in Chase Center. It will be the Warriors’ sixth appearance since 2015 and the 10th they’ve made in franchise history. The Celtics have made the NBA Finals 20 times in their history, winning 17. Their most recent title run came under the leadership of Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.

The Celtics’ improbable road to the Finals comes after Boston finished the regular season with the best defense in the League and won 26 of their last 32 games after going .500 in the first 50 games of the season. Boston (51-31) earned the No.2 seed in the playoffs, eliminating the Nets in a four-game sweep, finishing the defending champion Bucks in seven, and beating the Heat in seven games.

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