After the Miami Heat took a commanding (and surprising) 3-0 lead in the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics stormed back with three consecutive victories of their own. Celtics guard Derrick White beat the buzzer on a memorable tip-in to win Game 6 on Saturday, setting up a monumental Game 7 matchup on Memorial Day in Boston. Beyond the always entertaining nature of a Game 7 in any series, the victor earns a trip to the 2023 NBA Finals to meet Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, and the stakes and anticipation are sky-high. However, things nearly derailed for Jayson Tatum and the Celtics just 26 seconds into the game.
Tatum drove to the baseline on Boston’s first offensive possession of the game and, after a drawing a foul on Gabe Vincent, Tatum landed awkwardly, rolling his ankle in the process.
Jayson Tatum rolls his ankle on the first possession 😳pic.twitter.com/MamxzIfoVg
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) May 30, 2023
Tatum went to the free throw line and split a pair of free throws, though he was moving quite gingerly in the aftermath of the injury. Crucially, he did remain in the game, and Boston desperately needs Tatum’s contributions on both ends of the floor, noting that he has reached or exceeded 30 points in four of the first six games during the series.
It is impossible to know how severe Tatum’s ankle issue may be, or whether it could worsen during the game. Still, he was able to remain on the floor and, with the adrenaline undoubtedly pumping in a win-or-go-home game, it will be interesting to see how Tatum can contribute as Boston’s best player.