Celtics

Mannix: Celtics focused on building roster around Tatum and Brown

Celtics

The Boston Celtics earned an impressive 111-101 win over a good Cleveland Cavaliers team Wednesday night.

Jaylen Brown led the way with 34 points, while Jayson Tatum chipped in 18 points and a team-leading nine rebounds. There's been a lot of conversation and debate this season over whether these two stars are good fits on the same roster. 

On NBC Sports Boston's "Celtics Postgame Live", Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix made the case for why the Tatum/Brown duo works and how the Celtics view building around these players.

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"I don't think the Celtics have any real questions right now internally about Jaylen and Jayson," Mannix said Wednesday night. "Everything I've heard from within the team is that they're focused on getting the right pieces around them moving forward, not about the two of them together.

"What I've seen is that this duo works. You can't put your finger on one thing specifically over the course of five games, but you go back the last four seasons and look at what they've done as teammates. They've been to conference finals, they've both made All-Star teams last season. You can't throw all of that out based on some injury issues with Jaylen Brown early on and some inconsistency with this team.

"These two are very capable of being cornerstone players on a championship team. You have to figure out who the right pieces are to put around them."

For Tatum and Brown to thrive they both need to be healthy. Tatum has played in all 32 games for Boston this season, but Brown has been in and out of the lineup at times due to injury. Brown returned from a 12-day absence last week, and he's averaging 25.2 points over his five games since coming back to the lineup. 

 

The Celtics can be a contender in the East with the Tatum/Brown duo. The role players need to play well, too, especially Marcus Smart and Robert Williams, but any path beyond the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs requires Brown and Tatum to be healthy and in the lineup.