The Amazing Three and the Celtics

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Jayden Bradley, Writer

The last time Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart were in a Game 7, they were up-and-coming youngsters on a 2018 Boston Celtics team that was full of potential greatness going up against LeBron James who now is on the Lakers that are projected to win the title. Tatum even famously dunked on James in the fourth quarter of a losing effort just a small taste of his growth to come.

On Friday night against the Toronto Raptors, Tatum, Brown and Smart solidified that they are no longer up-and-coming. They are here, now even with the bubble and Covid-19 the trio combined for 66 points as the Boston Celtics eliminated the reigning champion Raptors, 92-87, to return to the conference finals for the third time in four years.

In a neck-and-neck series, all three players made crucial plays down the stretch. Brown had a momentum shifting dunk. Tatum saved the game with an offensive rebound in the final minute. And Smart’s chase-down block saved them in the final seconds.  The final minute will surely be in the Celtics highlight reel for years to come.

“I’m first team all-defense for a reason,” Smart said after the game.

Is it possible to be young in age and old in experience? Tatum is 22. Brown is 23. Smart is 26. But they have now played seven playoff series together, not including the playoff games Smart and Brown had before Tatum entered the league. Sunday was the third Game 7 for the trio and the fourth for Brown and Smart. Are they up for the upcoming challenges reporters ask.