Young Celtics duo continues to shine as they embrace 'great opportunity'

Young Celtics duo continues to shine as they embrace 'great opportunity'

BOSTON – There is no confusion as to the pecking order within the Boston Celtics hierarchy on the floor. 

Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are at the front of the line.

The Celtics know this, as do every team they face.

But for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, that knowledge has been invaluable to their play which has been far greater and more consistent than anyone anticipated.

And that play was one of the main reasons why the Celtics had no problem in defeating the New York Knicks, 110-89, on Tuesday night.


Brown, who celebrated his 21st birthday with a Celtics victory on Tuesday, led all scorers with 23 points. And Tatum, whose play is nothing like what you would expect from a 19-year-old, was right behind Brown with 22 points.

They became the first Celtics tandem ever to each score at least 20 points in the same game, and be 21 years old or younger at that time.

“We’re going to keep getting better and comfortable with each other as time goes on,” Tatum said.

Brown said his strong game against the Knicks was fueled in large part by the attention Horford and Irving were drawing.

“I’ve got to make plays when they’re taking up a lot of that attention,” Brown said. “So just come out, be aggressive.”

And he was quick to add that Tatum’s on board with that approach as well.

“Me and Jayson … got to make teams guard us,” Brown said. “Make it easier for Al and Kyrie.”

While that may be the intent, what’s starting to happen is Brown and Tatum are actually making things easier for Horford and Irving.

“They’re taking big strides every single day in practice,” Irving said of Brown and Tatum. “It’s still early but I give them credit. They’re coming out ready to play. They’re demanding a lot out of themselves which I appreciate. It makes my job easier to go out there and do what I do.”

And while a lot of attention has been paid to their play from the prism of them being young players, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t look at them that way.

“I’m sure I’ll say it down the road or whenever I’m asked,” Stevens said, “but they are young guys. But to us, with the situation we’re in, they’re guys. Like, we need them to be guys. We’re in a situation right now where we’re going to expect a lot out of those guys and we need them to be great, we need them to be able to respond to adversity, and we need to be able to respond to pats on the back just the same. We have high expectations for them; they should have high expectations for themselves, and they’re getting a great opportunity. So, we need them to continue to be good, and there’s a lot of fun in that, I think.”

Both Brown and Tatum have not shied away from embracing the thought of being an elite player despite being among the youngest players on the roster.

This isn’t about youth being served but rather, youth in the form of Brown and Tatum serving anyone not donning the Green and White.

And while this has been embraced by all the Celtics, Irving has taken particular joy in seeing how quickly the youthful duo has been able to make a major impact on the team.

“On an individual level, they are ahead of the game in terms of the guys at their position, first-year, second-year players,” Irving said. “They’re relishing it and I’m really proud of them. The difference between good and great is how consistent you are in this league. So, that’s just the thing that I’m going to continue to echo with guys. Be themselves and continue to get better."



Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Aggressive Al Horford was on the floor Friday night for the Boston Celtics, a good sign for a Celtics team that has been battered by injuries. 

As the oldest member of the team, the 31-year-old’s leadership has to become more example-driven as well as existing in the spoken word.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST  - Smart's importance to C's, dissecting the East

Horford was on point for most of Friday’s 92-83 win over Orlando, a game that was far more lopsided in Boston’s favor than the final score might indicate.

The 6-foot-10 forward/center had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. 

What was more telling was that Horford took a team-high 18 shots from the field, as clear a sign as you will find that Horford’s mindset on Friday was to attack Orlando’s defense early and often. 

And while it’s true that the Magic are one of the worst teams in the NBA, that doesn’t diminish the way Horford executed the plays called by head coach Brad Stevens as Horford played the role of primary scorer more often than usual, instead of being a major facilitator.

Having missed Boston’s previous two games, Horford was admittedly concerned if the lay-off might affect his conditioning. 

“Wind-wise I felt good,” Horford told reporters after Friday night’s win. “A little rusty on offense. But defensively I felt great. I felt our team came out with energy; just a good win.” 

A win that became a lot easier to get with Aggressive Al on the floor. 

 Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in Boston’s 92-83 win over Orlando.



Terry Rozier: He continues to provide the Celtics with really solid guard play, with all-star guard Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) missing. Rozier had a game high-tying 17 points along with seven rebounds and five assists. 

Greg Monroe: The third quarter was when Monroe really began to take over the game. He finished with 17 points, 10 of which came in the third. 

Shelvin Mack: Not a lot to cheer about for Mack and the Magic who once again struggled in so many phases of the game. But Mack still managed to score 16 points. 



Al Horford: Having missed the two previous games, Horford was back in full force on Friday. He had 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting to go with nine rebounds

Boston rebounding: The Celtics control of the glass began from the outset and never really eased up. For the game, Boston grabbed 55 rebounds compared to just 40 by Orlando. 



Fourth-quarter Celtics: The only real blemish on an otherwise impressive performance by Boston, was the team’s overall play in the fourth quarter. Boston was outscored 31-17 and turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter. 


Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

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Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

The Orlando Magic are one of the few teams already eliminated from playoff contention. 

And on Friday, it didn’t take long to see why.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST - Smart's importance, dissecting the Eastern Conference

The Boston Celtics didn’t waste any time taking control of the game and never letting up as they cruised to a 92-83 win.

Terry Rozier and Greg Monroe led the Celtics with 17 points each and Shelvin Mack had 16 points and seven rebounds for Orlando.  

With the win, the Celtics (47-22) snapped a two-game losing skid and improved their record since returning from the All-Star break to 7-3. 

Getting back on a winning track was just part of Boston’s motivation heading into Friday night’s game. 

With several key players out with injuries, the Celtics’ depth was once again on display from the opening tip to the final horn. 

In the first half, reserve guard Shane Larkin led the team in scoring with 10 points. 

And in the third quarter, backup center Greg Monroe was too much for the Magic to handle around the basket.

In the third, Monroe scored 10 of his 17 points off Boston’s bench. 

This was a game that the Celtics showed few signs of the kind of let-up we have seen them display against bad teams from time to time. 

But Orlando opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run that cut Boston’s lead down to 77-61 with 9:18 to play. 

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had seen enough and called a time-out. 

Orlando was able to chip away a little more at Boston’s lead which peaked at 24 points but was down to single digits in the fourth which provided a glimmer of hope that maybe just maybe, the Magic could get back in the game.

But when it mattered, Boston made the plays in the game’s closing moments to secure the victory. 

For the Celtics, the goal on Friday night was two-fold: find a way to win and come away healthy. 

Boston found success on both fronts, a refreshing change the Celtics hope to do more of going forward. 

Marcus Smart underwent surgery on his right thumb earlier in the day, which is expected to keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks which would put his return to the floor at the earliest, sometime near the end of the first round of the playoffs or early into the second. 

Daniel Theis underwent season-ending surgery recently for a meniscus tear in his left knee.

And Boston played without Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness), but he might back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

Al Horford returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an illness, and he didn’t disappoint in finishing with a near double-double of 15 point and nine rebounds.