JT Sets All-Star Scoring Record, Masked JB Logs 35-14-5

Even when they’re not on the same team, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are still the best duo in the NBA.

The Jays shined the brightest of all participants in Sunday night’s All-Star Game, combining for 90 points, 24 rebounds, and 11 assists while facing off on opposite sides of the court in Salt Lake City.

The All-Star teams were chosen playground style, just as they have been in the past few years. But this time, the captains made their selections just minutes before tip-off.

East Captain Giannis Antetokounmpo (coached by Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics' staff) made what would wind up being the smartest decision of the night, selecting Jayson Tatum with his first overall pick out of the starter pool. West Captain LeBron James had the steal of the night, choosing Jaylen Brown with his second pick among reserve players.

Both of those selections paid off, as the Celtics wings would turn in the best individual performances for their respective teams.

In fact, Tatum produced arguably the best effort in All-Star Game history, pouring in an All-Star record 55 points, corralling a team-high 10 rebounds, and dishing out six assists in 35 minutes to help lead Team Giannis to a 184-175 victory.

Brown, in his first game back from a facial fracture, masked up and turned up for a team-high 35 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, along with five assists and two steals in 25 minutes off the bench.

Heading into Sunday night, no Celtics player had ever reached 30 points in an All-Star Game. The Jays both surpassed that mark with ease.

When it came to naming the Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP, there was no debate. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver handed Jayson Tatum the hardware, while 5-year-old Jayson Tatum Jr. (aka “Deuce”), stood by his father with pride.

“It means the world when you think of all the legends and great players that have played in this game,” Tatum said in his postgame interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson after breaking the record. “And in all honesty, records are meant to be broken. So I’ll own it for as long as I can, but I’m certain somebody will come along in a couple of years and try to break it.”

However, there is one record that Tatum set Sunday night that likely won’t be broken anytime soon. He’s now the only player in NBA history with a 50-point game in a regular-season game, a playoff game, and an All-Star game. He also has the only 50-point effort play-in game history.

Tatum finished the contest shooting 22-31 from the field, including 10-of-18 from 3-point range. His 10 makes from beyond the arc were the second-most in All-Star Game history behind Steph Curry’s 16 from last year’s showcase.

Tatum’s lone free-throw make (there were only four attempts in the entire game) happened to be the record-breaking 53rd point, which pushed him past Anthony Davis’ mark of 52 points set in 2017. He broke Wilt Chamberlain’s Eastern Conference record of 42 points before the third quarter ended.

Brown finished second behind Tatum in field-goal makes with a 16-of-27 effort from the field, including 13-of-15 from inside the 3-point arc. Not bad for a guy in his first game back after suffering a friendly-fire facial fracture on Feb. 8.

Donning a black mask, Brown soared through the air like a superhero, slamming one dunk after another and hitting several smooth mid-range shots.

Toward the end of the third quarter, Brown instigated what would turn out to be the best back-and-forth battle of the night when he challenged Tatum to a one-on-one duel.

With a little more than a minute left on the clock, Brown went at his Celtics teammate and knocked down a fadeaway jumper over Tatum’s outstretched hand. JT tried to return the favor on his next trip up-court, but Brown stripped his dribble, sending the ball out of bounds.

Brown then went to work on Tatum once again, this time sinking a deep, step-back triple before taunting his Celtics teammate with a ‘too-small’ gesture. Tatum wasn’t having any of that, so he knocked down a step-back triple of his own during Team Giannis’ next possession.

Brown had the ball for the final shot for one last go at Tatum. The other eight players knew to get out of the way, so they stepped over toward the sideline to watch the show. JB went into his bag of dribbling tricks, hitting JT with crossovers and hesitation moves on his way to the basket. However, Brown got a little too carried away, because he wound up dribbling out the clock to a clapping Tatum’s delight.

“We were just trying to be competitive a little bit,” Tatum said of his battle with Brown. “Trying to stay safe, but have some fun with it. Show JB he can’t score on me.”

JB may not have scored on JT on that last possession, but the two of them were scoring on everyone else all night long. They turned two of the best all-around efforts in All-Star Game history while showing once again why they are the best duo in the league.