The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat were in a taut game Tuesday night that went into overtime.
Former Duke star Jayson Tatum, who has been pushing his case for greatness all season, went for the next step in his ascent on Boston’s last play of the game.
Down 116-114 with 3.7 left, Tatum took off and tried a powerful dunk.
If he makes it, he’s a Celtics legend.
Unfortunately, he ran into Bam Adebayo at the rim.
Adebayo, a powerful 6-9 forward, had one of the great clinching plays certainly in Miami history and arguably in the history of the NBA.
Then he followed it up with a free throw to pad the lead. Tatum got another shot, a long three, but missed.
The obvious bad news for Boston is the loss. The good news?
Well, it’s Game 1 for starters.
The real good news though is that in a tight moment, still early in his career, Tatum didn’t back down or pass or shirk his responsibility or anything else.
He went for the throat, he went for greatness.
He didn’t reach it but he tried. And as Bill Russell and Larry Bird will tell you, not many guys have the nerve to even try.
If he didn’t have their respect, he has it now.