Over the course of the season, a common narrative has popped up: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown can’t play together.
As the Boston Celtics have struggled to get to .500, fans and the media have begun pointing fingers at the franchise’s two pillars. Brown missed nearly half the season so far with a hamstring injury, and Tatum missed some games due to COVID, but the consensus remained the same.
In the two games, Tatum combined to score 57 points and Brown combined to score 60. That’s 137 points between the two of them… in two games. Better yet? Both were wins for the Celtics.
Rookie head coach Ime Udoka commented on the Jays’ elite play in their win on Wednesday night. He said that it makes life a lot easier when they’re both clicking.
“It obviously makes everything a lot easier. Looking for that to be a regular thing… The thing I liked was the ball movement. Unselfishness… They scored naturally, didn’t try to force much, and got everyone involved. Anytime those two are rolling, on the same page, obviously you’re going to have a good offensive night.”
Both stars notched 30-point games on Wednesday. The pair is undefeated when they both reach that mark. While it won’t happen on that level every night, that sort of scoring boost is something the Celtics will be counting on them for.
Tatum added that they’re “much tougher to guard” when they are both making shots. The pair is able to feed off of one another, as defenders can’t focus on just one of them. Tatum expanded on this, emphasizing how important it is for them to make the right plays in the process.
“Try not to look at it as taking turns, more so just making the right play & reading the game, because you don’t want to get caught up in taking turns and kind of get stagnant as far as...just making the right play.”
The duo also combined for seven of the Celtics’ 23 assists on the night. In addition, both shot very efficiently from the field and from deep. Outside of a slight lull in the second quarter, as Udoka pointed out in his postgame interview, they let the offense come to them. Tatum and Brown weren’t forcing much.
Brown even took the time to build Tatum up a bit in his postgame press conference:
“I want Jayson to reach his potential and get everything out of his game that he wants to get out of it, so to see him going is great. It inspires me so we just got to keep getting better, keep improving, keep playing off each other and making the best of what we have.”
Both Tatum and Brown were All-Stars last season, and with the game rapidly approaching, there’s a chance they could be this year as well. While that would be great, Brown made sure to note that the team is fully focused on the season ahead.
“It takes a lot of mental focus. It takes a lot of preparation. It takes consistency and I think we’re capable of doing that. It’s time to start growing up, maturing, everybody being on one accord and playing some good basketball.”
Consistency has been one of the major weaknesses of this Celtics team so far this season. It’s been a constant game of one step forward and two steps back.
Although the C’s man-handled the Pacers on their way to a 19-point win, Brown wasn’t as cheery as one would expect. Instead, he was laser-focused on the rest of the season.
“No satisfaction whatsoever. None at all. We’re back to .500 and got some tough teams ahead of us… We’ve been through a lot of adversity this season and it’s time to turn that adversity into positive production.”
This current set of wins only marks Boston’s second three-game win streak this season. They have yet to win four in a row, but will have the chance to do just that when they travel to Philadelphia on Friday.