Boston's Young Dynamic Duo Dominates Knicks in New York
NEW YORK – In case you hadn’t heard, the Boston Celtics have the most dynamic young wing duo in the entire NBA.
That duo, comprised of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, put on a show Sunday evening, fittingly, just around the corner from Broadway in New York.
Tatum and Brown combined to score 58 of Boston’s 113 points during the team’s 114-104 victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Tatum matched his season high with 30 points, while Brown scored 28 of his own. The duo combined to shoot 21-for-41 from the field during a combined performance that was worth the price of admission.
“It’s fun to watch, man,” three-time All-Star Kemba Walker said of his two teammates. “They’re so talented, especially for their age.”
It’s easy to forget, because they’ve been playing in the national spotlight for their entire careers, that these two players are as young as they are. Tatum is still only 21, while Brown is still only 23. They are still young pups in this league, yet they’re playing far beyond their years. This season, despite sharing the ball with other talented players like Walker, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart, Tatum and Brown rank 28th and 34th in the league, respectively, in scoring average.
The skills that have pushed each player to new scoring heights were on full display Sunday evening.
Tatum made multiple shots from all three levels against the Knicks. He attacked the basked for two buckets in the restricted area, made created enough space to make mid-range jumpers, and he also canned five 3-pointers. He constantly put pressure on New York’s defense, which Brad Stevens appreciated from the sideline.
“He’s got a special ability to make shots,” the coach said. “I thought that he did some good things. In the game’s biggest moment, he really attacked the basket.”
That was Brown’s specialty throughout the contest Sunday, as it has been all season long. While the fourth-year wing did can four 3-pointers during the game, he did his most impressive work inside the paint. He scores seven of his baskets inside the land, including five from inside the restricted area.
This performance from Brown was far superior to the one he put forth Friday afternoon against Brooklyn. During that contest, he took only eight total shots, which he acknowledged was a number he needed to surpass against the Knicks.
“I wanted to be more aggressive coming into this game,” he said Sunday night.
Brown lived up to his goals, taking it to the basket far more often. New York was simply unable to counteract that aggression.
Some who watched Sunday’s game might wonder why this doesn’t happen more often for Tatum and Brown. The answer is simple: it isn’t necessarily needed.
The Celtics are stacked with talent. With the likes of Walker, Hayward, Smart, Tatum and Brown, none of them are forced to take over every night in order for Boston to win. But when they need to, the young guns can step up.
“It’s not going to be perfect every night, but that’s what I like about our team: we’ve got so many weapons,” said Tatum. “On any given night, one or two guys can go off, and that’s the cool thing about the team this year.”
That’s also a thing which Walker isn’t taking lightly. Sunday’s combined effort from Tatum and Brown proved to be more evidence to Walker that he’s got more talent around him than he ever has during his time in the NBA.
“For me to not have a great shooting night and we still get a win?” asked Walker, who shot 6-for-18 from the field during Sunday’s victory. “That hasn’t happened much over the course of my career, so I’m excited about it.”
Opponents? Well, they’re at the other end of that spectrum. They hate it.
Walker was good enough to win games by himself during his time with the Charlotte Hornets. Now he’s flanked by Hayward, Smart, and the most dynamic young wing duo in the NBA. That’s proving to be a dangerous recipe for the rest of the league to stop throughout the rest of this season, as the Knicks learned first-hand Sunday at Madison Square Garden.