The first round series between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets was supposed to be about the two most skilled players in the NBA, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Instead, it is the young duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown shining on the NBA playoff stage.
In leading the Celtics to a commanding 3-0 lead over the Nets following a 109-103 victory at Barclays Center Saturday night, both Tatum and Brown continue to show the league they can not only play together but close out opponents like they did in the Game 3 victory.
Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, there is one game to win in this series and both Durant and Irving are capable of single-handedly taking over and winning a game, but there is something different in the eyes of Brown and Tatum. There is something special brewing. Two players are ascending right before our eyes and its beautiful.
Boston Celtics have proven to have the better star duo as Durant and Irving struggle
In fact, Durant and Irving are also seeing that difference. Are they tapping out or are they admitting the Celtics have finally put it all together with two leaders with confidence and a killer instinct in their eyes?
It appears to be the latter. In a big game, the All-World stars scored 16 points apiece, while Jaylen Brown countered every Nets punch or attempt at a comeback with a punch of his own. Whether it was driving to the hoop or stepping back for clutch jump shots, the 25-year-old Brown had his Batman moments, but had no hesitation in being a Robin to Tatum’s Batman.
Speaking of Jayson, not only did he hit clutch shot after clutch shot, he outscored the duo of Durant and Kyrie Irving, dropping 39 points on the Nets. It wasn’t just his scoring, Tatum also added six assists, six steals and five rebounds, showcasing that he is rising as one of the best two-way players in the NBA.
Let the highlights do the talking:
In all, it was a team effort as it has been throughout the season, or at least the second half of the season. Tatum and Brown have learned how to lead, but they also have a coach in Ime Udoka who put them in position to win.
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And around them, are a collection of role players who elevate them as well as they elevate them.
Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Derrick White, Daniel Theis, Grant Williams, Robert Williams, and Payton Prichard off the bench are proving to be the right pieces around a hungry superstar duo who are not only rising to the challenge but embracing the challenge and path ahead of them.
They told everyone they weren’t afraid of Brooklyn in the first round, and they are proving it. Maybe the return of Ben Simmons will spark the Nets for a game, but the way this Boston Celtics team is locked in, it is hard to image Durant and Irving getting it all together for 4 consecutive games.
That’s more because of the resiliency of this Boston Celtics team.