It was a quirky stat at halftime: Jayson Tatum (24 points, 9-17 FGs) had scored as many points on the Spurs as the rest of his teammates combined (24 points, 7-29 FGs). The Celtics trailed by 29.
San Antonio’s lead, once 32 in the second quarter, stretched again, out to 31. Then it snapped back. Closer. And closer still.
By the final moments of regulation, Tatum was sitting on 50, firing off a clean fallaway with the win on the line. All it took was overtime, and by then Tatum had bolstered his total with another 10 points to cap an astounding comeback — the second-largest overall in the last 20 years, according to Elias Sports Bureau, and second-largest all-time from the half.
🚨 60 POINTS FOR JAYSON TATUM. 🚨
☘️ Career high, ties BOS record (Bird)
☘️ 31 PTS in 4th quarter & OT
☘️ Leads @celtics 32-point comeback W pic.twitter.com/XxP9Sqf8cZ
— NBA (@NBA) May 1, 2021
Tatum’s 60 points tied Larry Bird for the Celtics’ all-time single-game scoring mark, also making him the second-youngest player to score 60 (behind Devin Booker) and the first Celtics player with multiple 50-point games in the same season.
Jaylen Brown, who earned an All-Star nod alongside Tatum for this year’s showcase in Atlanta, said simply: “That boy is destined for greatness.”