BOSTON – When Jayson Tatum chased the loose ball, he needed to know that LeBron James was lurking nearby. And yet, the 20-year-old rookie was not afraid, without hesitation, as he immediately attacked the basket.
To understand why this game was so important, you have to rewind six months to the opening night in Cleveland when Tatum fought a big case of the first jitter game. James beat one of the rookie's offerings in the first minute, a big welcome-in-the-league moment as it gets.
Now, in a sign of how far Tatum and these young Boston Celtics have come, it was the rookie who won a run to the pass he had deflected into the backcourt, then after a strong dribble and ended, when James gave in, without really questioning the goal.
Jayson Tatum explains how the Celtics were able to defend the home game in Game 5 again and what Boston must do to win in Cleveland.
Tatum finished with a team-high 24 points on 7 of 15 shooting over 40 minutes to propel the Celtics to a 96-83 triumph over James Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5's Eastern Conference final on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
The Celtics lead the best-of-Seven series 3-2 with a chance to close it Friday night in Cleveland.
One night, Tatum slipped past Magic Johnson and Wilt Chamberlain. He became only the sixth rookie in NBA history to score 300 postseason points, and put his team in position to defeat James' hegemony in the Ending East Domination
|Opp  Pts|
|2018 1st Round (Game 7)||Pacemaker||45|
|2013 Conf-Finale (Game 7)||Pacer||32|
|2012 Conf-Finale (Game 7)  Celtics||31|
|2012 Conf Finale (Game 6)||at Celtics||45|
Earlier in the day, James was reminded of the days when Tatum attended a Cavaliers shootaround at the age of just eight and players like James played singles challenged. James said he remembered the visit and praised today's Tatum very much.
"His serenity, he plays beyond his age.The unfortunate events of the injuries [the Celtics] have helped him to become faster faster than they had expected," said James. "It gives him the opportunity to make mistakes or make mistakes and learn from them, and still be on the ground."
"His talent, his serenity, where he comes from, has brought him success. He is already a very, very, very good player and he can definitely, at this rate, become a great player. 
That night, it was Tatum and the short-legged Celtics who seemed to have the extra equipment James and Cavaliers did not have.
James finished with 26 points 11 out of 22 shootings but looked gassed at times t
Boston improved to Hau in this postseason se to 10: 0 and drew within a victory of an unlikely trip to the NBA Finals. Boston fans chanted "Celts in six!" towards the end of the Wednesday game.
The Celtics hit the Cavaliers with a 3-point barrage towards the end of the first quarter while they made a little separation. Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown tripled every two minutes as the Boston lead rose from one point to double digits.
The Celtics lead went as early as 17 in the second quarter, but a small flicker between Morris and Cav's striker Larry Nance Jr. could have given the Cavaliers a jolt.
Jayson Tatum picks up Kevin Love's bad pass and passes straight past LeBron James
After Morris hit Nance, he was in the first row above the baseline above him. Nance jumped up and shoved Morris frustrated, causing Terry Rozier to run over with his own retaliatory thrust. Nance, Morris and Rozier were each struck with technical tricks and the Cavaliers scored the next nine points of the game.
But Boston never let Cleveland do a real job.