Global Statement: Brown, Tatum Outduel 76ers Duo

LONDON – Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum made a case to the world Thursday night that they – not Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons – make up the greatest young duo in the NBA.

Brown and Tatum, playing in Boston’s NBA Global Games showdown with the 76ers in London, keyed their team’s 114-103 win by combining for 37 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. They dazzled with efficiency, combining to shoot 53.6 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from long range, and they shifted the game with their presence at both ends.

Embiid and Simmons, two interior players, combined to shoot 48.3 percent from the field. They totaled 31 points and 12 rebounds while rarely making a tangible impact on the game.

And most importantly, the Celtics were the team that came out on top.

“We’ve got the best record in the East. I think we’re a major part of it,” Brown said after the game of why he and Tatum should be considered in the same category as Embiid and Simmons. “We don’t really think of it that way. We just try to come out, play basketball, and just try to help our team win, and I think our individual success comes from team accolades.”

Brown spoke at the postgame podium as he sat to the left of four-time All-Star Kyrie Irving. Meanwhile, down the hall of The O2 Arena, Tatum, in fewer words, echoed similar thoughts to the media during his postgame comments.

“We just try to feed off each other, try to contribute as much as we can every game to winning,” he said.

The duo certainly has done so throughout this season. They now average a combined 28.1 points per game, and both players are shooting at least 46.5 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from 3-point range. Moreover, they have become dangerous two-way weapons that have been key to Boston becoming the top defensive team in the NBA.

“Youth and versatility,” Tatum said of what he and Brown bring to the table as a tandem. “We’re both about the same size… I’m a little bit taller. We just try to be versatile out there; two guys that can try to do a lot of different things on the court.”

Thursday’s performance was a perfect example of that. Both players scored in the interior, and both players scored on the perimeter. Both players rebounded, and both players passed.

Most importantly, both players played critical roles in helping the Celtics limit Philadelphia to just 36.6 percent shooting from the field during the second half. They are two of the main reasons why Sixers coach Brett Brown announced three separate times during his postgame press conference that the Celtics are “the best defensive team in the league.”

The combination of Brown and Tatum’s youth, length, athleticism, basketball acumen and will to win is a factor that has been at the core of Boston’s overpowering play.

“We’re both very competitive,” said Tatum. “We both have confidence in ourselves and each other. We feed off each other when the other person is going, and we talk to each other during the game.”

They were feeding all night Thursday night. Brown and Tatum, as well as the Celtics as a whole, had it going throughout the final three quarters of the game as they pounded Embiid, Simmons and the Sixers into submission for the third time this season.

There is no questioning the talent of Embiid and Simmons; they are going to be a fearsome duo for years to come. However, Brown and Tatum make up the young and dynamic duo that is both putting up impressive numbers and impacting winning right now.

That’s why Brown and Tatum make up the greatest young duo in the NBA.

Your latest evidence? Thursday night.