Celtics

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.

MORE:

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."

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

BEST OF BST PODCAST: Pelicans snap Celtics 7-game win streak

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BEST OF BST PODCAST: Pelicans snap Celtics 7-game win streak

0:41 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to break down the Celtics loss to the Pelicans in overtime, which snapped Boston's 7-game winning streak, and talks about the dysfunction with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

4:24 - Michael Holley, Tom Curran, Phil Perry, and Tom Giles discuss Gregg Doyel's article where he expressed concern over the expected hiring of Josh McDaniels by the Colts because of his tenure in Denver.

10:13 - Celtics legend Jo Jo White passed away at the age of 71. Michael Holley and Tom Curran talk about the impact he had on the franchise.

13:49 - Phil Perry gives us his report card for each position from the Patriots win over the Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Anthony Davis delivers another monster performance, leading Pelicans past Celtics

davis_11162018.jpg

Anthony Davis delivers another monster performance, leading Pelicans past Celtics

BOSTON – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Tuesday’s 116-113 overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans which snapped Boston’s seven game winning streak while the Pelicans (23-20) have now won four of their last five games.

STARS

Anthony Davis: At no point was there a time when you didn’t feel as though this was Anthony Davis’ world and everyone else was just along for the ride. After scoring 48 points at New York on Sunday, Davis had another monster game with 45 points against Boston on 16-for-34 shooting along with 16 rebounds.

STUDS

DeMarcus Cousins: It was Cousins’ first win in Boston after six losses, and his play was huge. He finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans.

Jrue Holiday: It’s easy to forget that Holiday is a former All-star. He played like one on Tuesday, scoring 23 points to go with seven assists with huge baskets in the fourth and in overtime.

Kyrie Irving: After a brutal first half, Irving shook off the rust from the long lay-off from London to finish with a team-high 27 points.

Jaylen Brown: He was one of the Celtics more consistent scorers, tallying 16 points on 7-for-14 shooting to go with five assists.

Rajon Rondo: There wasn’t much court time for the former Celtic down the stretch, but Rondo’s impact was undeniable. He played just under 30 minutes and finished with seven points and eight assists with a couple steals and two blocked shots.

DUDS

Celtics turnovers: Boston turned the ball over 19 times which is high but not too outlandish. The bigger problem for Boston was the 32 points those miscues created for New Orleans which was the most by a Boston opponent this season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE