A sneaky dramatic storyline played out Wednesday night at TD Garden, and we're not talking about the Cleveland Cavaliers' last-minute comeback attempt.
While the Boston Celtics were able to hold on for the 117-113 victory, there was some doubt as to whether Jayson Tatum would reach 40 points, as he was stuck on 39 with just 17 seconds remaining.
Then Caris LeVert fouled Tatum to give him a pair of free throws, and Tatum hit them both to finish with 41 points.
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Why is 41 significant, you ask? Well, Wednesday was Tatum's final game as a 24-year-old (he turns 25 on Friday), and he entered the night ranked eighth on the NBA's all-time scoring list for players under age 25 -- exactly 39 points behind Giannis Antetokounmpo.
So, with those final two free throws, Tatum vaulted Giannis to seventh on that list, with only some very talented players ahead of him.
Tatum had the benefit of entering the NBA at age 19, but that's a remarkable testament to his talent and consistency over five-plus NBA seasons. Tatum has scored at least 1,000 points in every NBA season to date and is well on his way to his second consecutive season with 2,000-plus points.
Tatum hasn't just had individual success, either. He's also helped the Celtics reach at least the Eastern Conference Finals in three of his first five seasons, culminating in a run to the NBA Finals last June.
If you add Tatum's 74 playoff games and include rebounds and assists, he's in a class with only LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant among the most prolific players before their 25th birthday.
Tatum has already established himself as a legitimate NBA superstar, so it's easy to forget how young he is. Based on the company he's keeping with these milestones, he still has a very bright future ahead of him with the chance to become one of the all-time greats.