Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum scored a team-high 24 points to help the Celtics win Game 5. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics high fives fans after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83 in Game Five of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 23, 2018, in Boston, Massachusetts. Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Jayson Tatum played a starring role as the Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 Wednesday night at the TD Garden to take a 3-2 series lead in their Eastern Conference Finals series.

The Celtics got off to a great start with a 32-19 first quarter lead and were never troubled beyond that as they eventually ran out 96-83 winners over a seemingly tired Cleveland side despite the latter playing one less postseason game than the home side.

Tatum finished the game with a team-high of 24 points from 7-for-15 shooting, seven rebounds and four assists in 41 minutes of action as the 20-year-old rookie continued to impress in the playoffs with his display being his ninth 20-point game of the postseason.

In addition, he broke a couple of records as well as he became the youngest player at 20 years, 81 days, to score at least 20 points in a conference finals game while he also passed the likes of Magic Johnson and Wilt Chamberlain to have the fourth-most points by a rookie in NBA playoff history and becoming just the sixth rookie to score 300 postseason points.

Him stepping up is all the more impressive considering the Celtics are playing without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward and had just lost two in a row to the Cavaliers, but are now one game away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

"I mean I just enjoy playing in the big moments, in the big games," Tatum told reporters after the game. "I think that's when I have the most fun, when there are things on the line. A lot of guys stepped up tonight and I can't say enough about us being one win away from the Finals especially after everything we've been through."

"It's been a lot of fun, I'm just enjoying the level of play, the atmosphere, the playoffs bring some of the best out of people, the players, so hopefully we keep that going," he added.

Coincidentally, he was praised by Cavaliers star LeBron James in the buildup to Game 5 after the latter recalled how Tatum visited a Cavaliers shootaround when he was just eight years old.

"His composure, he plays above his age," James said earlier in the day. "The unfortunate events of injuries [the Celtics] have had has allowed him to get better faster than they expected. It's given him an opportunity to make fail plays or make mistakes and be able to learn from them and still be able to be on the floor."

"His talent, his composure, where he's come from has allowed him to be successful. He's a very, very, very good player already and he definitely, at this pace, can become a great player," James added.

While Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell seem to be the leading candidates for the NBA Rookie of the Year award, if the postseason was counted, Tatum would definitely be in for a shout given his performances so far.