addByline("Taylor Snow", "Celtics.com", "taylorcsnow");
The Indiana Pacers had a date with the Twindiana Jay Sirs Wednesday night, and it did not end happily for the former.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum matched each other shot for shot, as they both knocked down 11-of-19 from the field, scoring 34 and 33 points, respectively, while carrying the Boston Celtics to their third consecutive victory – and second straight against the Pacers – in the form of a 119-100 win at Bankers Life Field House.
It was clear right from the opening tip that the duo was in for a special night. The first quarter consisted of 14 points from Tatum and 10 points from Brown, which put them just one point shy of the entire Pacers team at the end of one.
Brown doubled his scoring total in the second quarter, finishing the half with 20 points to Tatum’s 16. JB then tallied eight in the third and six in the fourth to round out an evenly-distributed scoring performance, while Tatum added five in the third and 12 in the fourth to ensure the Celtics of a blowout win.
Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was thrilled with the Jays’ conjoined scoring effort, noting how “it makes everything a lot easier. We’re looking for that as a regular thing, obviously. Having two guys in attack mode is hard to stop.”
The key to Brown and Tatum entering attack mode simultaneously was constant ball movement. They constantly fed off of each other and the rest of their teammates, which wiped out any chance of the offense going stagnant.
“Other than a little stretch in the second where we went a little bit with some iso’s, we were pretty good moving the ball, playing off the post, playing off splits and getting out in transition,” Udoka said. “[Brown and Tatum] scored naturally, didn’t force much and got everybody involved. When those two are rolling and on the same page we’re going to have a good offensive night.”
It wasn’t just a good offensive night for the Jays; the entire team shot the ball well. Dennis Schroder had himself a night as well, scoring 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range while starting in place of an injured Marcus Smart.
As a unit, the Celtics shot 51.3 percent from the field, 47.4 percent from 3-point range, and 84.0 percent from the free-throw line, marking one of their most efficient games of the season overall.
Brown and Tatum both scored in a variety of ways. JB excelled mostly from beyond the arc where he shot 7-of-11, and JT was a force inside the arc, from where he shot 7-of-10 and 7-of-8 at the free-throw line.
Both being hot meant that they had to figure out how to share the load without letting the other cool off. However, that came naturally as they read the defense, made adjustments, and inspired each other with their elite shot-making.
Tatum explained, “We try not to look at it as taking turns, more so just making the right play and reading the game, because you don’t want to get caught up in taking turns and kind of get stagnant as far as just getting stops, running in transition, reading the defense, just making the right play.”
By making the right play time after time, they combined for 67 points, marking their highest joint effort in regulation this season. The only time they scored more was Oct. 25 in Charlotte where they combined for 71 points in a 140-129 overtime win.
“It hasn’t happened as much this year as we’d like,” Tatum said regarding them both going off at the same time. “But it’s not like new to us, we’ve done it before in the past. I think more often than not, we’ve played well together. And hopefully we can keep it up.”
There’s no reason to believe they can’t keep it up, seeing as they have both been on a tear ever since the start of the New Year. Throughout the first half of January, Brown has averaged 29.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game, while Tatum has put up 26.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.
Sometimes they go off on different nights, but when they find a rhythm together, it almost always results in a twinning effort, just as it did Wednesday night.