addByline("Marc D'Amico", "Celtics.com", "Marc_DAmico");
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were two of the brightest stars to shine during the 70th NBA All-Star game Sunday night in Atlanta.
The Boston Celtics’ duo combined for 43 points on 17-of-28 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, seven assists and six steals on the night. Their point total stands as the second-most in the game among regular-season teammates, trailing only the 45 combined points scored by Kyrie Irving and James Harden of the Nets.
Brown’s night may have been the most enjoyable of any player who participated in the game. Not only did he excel statistically while playing in his first All-Star game, but he also got the win as a member of Team LeBron while playing in his hometown of Atlanta and in front of his closest family members.
The 24-year-old wing scored 22 points on the night, including a four-point play during the early moments of the fourth quarter that led to a memory that will last a lifetime for him and his family.
“I got fouled on the 3 and my brother came and picked me up, and I know that’s something my family – that’s a moment right there we’re never going to forget,” Brown said with a big smile. “When a family member falls down, you gotta be there to pick him up. My brother ran on the court and picked me up.”
Tatum wasn’t the man to pick Brown up because he was Brown’s opponent for the first time during their professional careers. The two-time All-Star was a member of Team Durant, which lost the first three quarters and the game despite Tatum’s 21 points, seven assists and four steals. Team Durant outscored Team LeBron by seven points while Tatum was on the court, which gave him the only positive plus/minus rating on the entire team.
Despite the loss, Tatum was all smiles following the contest, which he said surpassed his expectations.
“Honestly, it was more fun than I thought it would be,” he said, alluding to the fact that the weekend’s environment was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I had a blast.”
One of the reasons Tatum enjoyed himself so much was because he was able to share the court with his longtime friend from St. Louis, Bradley Beal. The duo started next to each other and played on the same team for the very first time. They were announced back-to-back during the starting lineup announcements.
“That was super cool,” Tatum said of being a part of the starting lineups. “I want to continue to do that. I want to start for the next X amount of years, so I’ve got a lot of work to do. But sharing that moment with Brad, everyone knows how much that meant to me.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Brown was busy soaking in the experience of being teammates with two of the greatest players to ever lace them up: LeBron James and Stephen Curry. There were multiple instances throughout the contest during which Brown was caught on camera laughing with and picking the brains of those two greats, which he spoke about following the game.
“When I got hot there, Steph was like the main person that was cheering me on,” Brown said, “and I shot one from the logo and it didn’t go in, but Steph said he liked it. So I was like, ‘Man, I thought I was you for a second,’ and he started laughing and stuff like that.”
Brown then spoke of his interactions with James, which sounded much more like a student-teacher interaction.
“I was talking to LeBron a lot on the bench and asking him questions, probably being annoying,” Brown joked. “But I’m learning something and trying to pick up some information and some knowledge.”
The other interactions that stood out for both Brown and Tatum were the moments during which they were matched up against each other. It happened twice while Brown had the ball in his hands, one of which led to a trip to the free-throw line after Tatum was whistled for a foul. The two teammates, who have pushed each other through the last four years to grow into All-Stars together, had varying recollections of that particular play.
“He fouled me when he was on me. We knew how that was going to go,” Brown said in jest.
Minutes later, Tatum relayed a slightly different perspective than that of his good friend and Celtics teammate.
“No, I didn’t,” Tatum said after being asked if he fouled Brown. “I was playing defense and then he got to the layup and I was about to move out the way, but we’re in Atlanta, so they gave him the foul.”
Those playful comments by Brown and Tatum are symbolic of how this night felt for them: fun, laid back, memorable. These two stars shined through on the NBA’s biggest exhibition stage while being surrounded by the top basketball talents in the world. The NBA’s 70th All-Star game was certainly a resounding and memorable success for Boston’s two foundational stars.