BOSTON -- Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals did not begin as planned for Jayson Tatum.
The Celtics' superstar drove to the basket on the opening possession of the game, stepping around Gabe Vincent on his way to the hoop. Vincent was called for a blocking foul, but Tatum landed on Vincent's foot, twisting his left ankle rather severely in the process.
Tatum stayed in the game but was clearly in pain, making one of his two free throws. He made another drive to the hoop on Boston's next possession, though he wasn't able to get it to fall.
Tatum ended up resting for the final 4:11 of the quarter, though he wasn't getting treatment on the ankle.
He was able to grab four rebounds -- including one on the offensive glass -- and dish out an assist in the opening five minutes of the game, before Joe Mazzulla called timeout with 6:53 to go in the opening quarter.
Tatum stayed in the game after that timeout, indicating that he was willing to play through the ankle issue in the biggest game of the year.
Despite staying in the game, Tatum clearly affected by the injury throughout Boston's 103-84 loss. By the end of the third quarter, after 32 minutes on the floor, Tatum had just 12 points on 4-for-9 shooting. He did help with 11 rebounds, four assists and a steal in the first three quarters, but he wasn't his usual impactful self during that time on the floor.
He finished the game with 14 points off 5-for-13 shooting..
"It's tough cause it kinda impacted me the rest of the night," he said of the injury after the loss. "It swelled up and it was just frustrating that I was just a shell of myself. It was tough to move, and it was frustrating.
"I don't want anybody to feel bad for me. Unfortunately injuries are part of this game," Tatum added. "It was unfortunate and something I tried to battle through throughout the game."
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