Breakfast Special: Jayson Tatum, Playoff Rookie of the Year

Sure, the Rookie of the Year in the regular season, the one they actually hand out a trophy for, came down to a two-horse race between Ben Simmons, aka the Second Coming of Magic Johnson, and Donovan Mitchell, whose case rested on Simmons having spent a year around NBA practice facilities with NBA team doctors and an NBA environment and therefore wasn’t a real rookie because even though it was his first year playing, it was his second year in the league.

Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum gets the last laugh, as he was probably the consensus third-best rookie in basketball when all the votes finally get tallied up, but in the end he’s the one playing in a conference finals while Simmons and Mitchell watch on television.

What’s more, he is one of the key young guns; his go-ahead layup as the Celtics won Game 5 and the series 114-112 was so clutch, rookies simply aren’t supposed to be able to do it unless they’re once-in-a-generation talents:

Speaking of young guns, Tatum has been Gordon Who as he stepped into the role Gordon Hayward was supposed to play, and Terry Rozier is Kyrie Who, doing the same thing for Kyrie Irving:

Marcus Smart came up huge off the bench:

Jaylen Brown shot 76.9 percent from the field just because he’s got ice in his veins and none of those young-guy jitters he’s supposed to have:

And just as a giant F You to the referees in Game 4, the Celtics shot 41 free throws, made 31 of them, and used a combination of getting to the line and taking care of the ball (10 turnovers to Philly’s 16) to manufacture enough value possessions to win a two-point squeaker.

Hello, Cleveland…it’s time for a rematch. There was a time when the Celtics knocking LeBron James out of the playoffs meant his departure from the city…might another such beating be a prelude to LeBron as a member of the Rockets or Sixers in 2019?

Meanwhile, the Sixers have got to be kicking themselves…they won the rebound battle (48-39), shot 48.8 percent…and those 16 turnovers just killed them.

Plus, and speaking again of the refs, Ben Simmons and J.J. Redick had five fouls apiece as the team spent the game in foul trouble.

The Eastern Conference Finals begin Sunday, and the final four in the NBA are the Cavs, Celtics, Rockets, and Warriors.

It kind of feels like everything up to this point was just the preseason…

Coming tomorrow: A basketball-themed celebration of breakfast food. Yes, actual breakfast on the Breakfast Special, because it’s Friday and there won’t be games again until the ECF starts up.

So stay tuned and thanks for reading!