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Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown stepping up greatly for Boston Celtics

It’s rare when a team is streaking and winning at the rate of the Boston Celtics with two young players serving as a huge role in the process, yet this is what it has come to for Boston. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are not only fast friends, but important pieces in a rotation that has taken the East by storm.

Both are similar in body style, playing position and personality, and their ability to show rapid growth — the second season for Brown, the first for Tatum — is a bit unexpected. The defense of Brown in particular has juiced the Celtics, while Tatum’s surprising offensive efficiency makes him a go-to player already as a rookie.

Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe put the two together and wrote one story:

His perseverance at age 21 is admirable and his teammates have nothing but respect and adulation for his strength. Brown has been perhaps the team’s biggest surprise this season. The Celtics expected him to take a step forward from an inconsistent but encouraging rookie season, but it’s been more like a leap.

He has doubled his scoring and rebounding averages from his first season and also become a nearly 40 percent 3-point shooter. If you recall, perimeter shooting was considered a primary weakness when Brown came out of the University of California. Brown was a 29.4 percent 3-point shooter from the college line during his lone year with the Bears.

Brown hit 30 threes in 34 college games. Brown hit four threes on Saturday.

There was overwhelming doubt about team president Danny Ainge’s decision to swap the No. 1 overall pick to the 76ers — the Celtics giving up the chance to draft University of Washington point guard Markelle Fultz. Ainge had set his sights on Tatum with the No. 3 pick. Tatum, who is a cinch for the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, is fourth on the team in scoring.

“Sometime shots just don’t go your way but it’s a long game and you get into you groove, things start opening up and coming easy,” he said of his first-half skid. “I don’t get too down on myself. I know I can shoot. Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in, but it doesn’t stop me from shooting.”

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