Jayson Tatum comes alive as Celtics force Game 7 vs. Sixers

The Boston Celtics close out the streak at home.

The Celtics, led by Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum’s fourth-quarter awakening, continued their season on Thursday with a 95-86 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The series will be decided by Game 7 in Boston on Sunday.

Smart led the team in scoring with 22 points and 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals, but the game rested on Tatum, who scored 16 fourth-quarter points after scoring just 3 in the previous 36 minutes.

Tatum alone outscored the Sixers 16-13 in the entire quarter and finished with 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

“Honestly, I’m one of the best basketball players in the world,” Tatum said after the game. “Go through the struggles, go through the slumps, it’s a long game. Luckily, I’ve got some great teammates who have stuck it out.”

The Celtics held a double-digit lead for much of the first half, but the Sixers stormed back in front of a raucous crowd soon after halftime. The game tightened in the third quarter, with neither team leading by more than 2 points until Tatum led a Celtics surge late in the fourth.

Jayson Tatum and the Celtics are still alive. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey combined to lead the game with 26 points each on 18-of-39 shooting, but overall the Sixers had a miserable night on 36.1% shooting from the field.

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