The Boston Celtics have been in one of the more unique situations in the NBA for quite some time now, and that is due to the continued exponential development by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. This season has seen the young duo, ages 23 and 25 respectively, grow into household franchise superstars, on the most illustrious franchise in NBA history. They each took the helm this year for Boston, and after a rocky first half, it appears the duo is righting the ship for Boston at just the right time, as they have won six of their last seven games, some of which in decisive fashion.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown Are Leading The Celtics To A Mid-Season Surge
Fans Are Back
Since the Boston Celtics’ fans returned to the TD Garden on March 29th, and the aftermath of the trade deadline that saw the Celtics acquire Evan Fournier, Boston is operating on a different level. One of the Celtics biggest struggles to this point has been building consistency in order to hang with some of the Eastern Conference titans, and while they are still working towards that level, they have made great strides in this recent hot stretch from both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, along with some helpful contributions from upstart Robert Williams.
The TD Garden faithful has played a major helping hand, despite filling just 12% of the arena’s capacity. The energy that radiates from the roar of the crowd has historically paid dividends and provides the team with a steady advantage since the days of Larry Bird and Red Auerbach. With just 18 games left in the season, 9 of which are at home, the Celtics have a great chance to get back to a home-court seed come playoff time.
Jayson Tatum’s Hot Streak
Jayson Tatum won this past week’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week, and deservedly so.
In his last five games, Tatum is averaging 29.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG, shooting 49% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc. His offensive contributions of late have been extremely reminiscent of his dominant run he had in February of 2020, prior to the unprecedented league shutdown. Tatum, 23, is fresh off of a career-high 53 points on 64% shooting in an overtime win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. That kind of clutch play in crunch time adds to the level of trust the organization already has in such a young, yet decorated player in Tatum.
In Tatum’s latest display, he iced the game against the Portland Trail Blazers with his signature side-step three-pointer to stretch the lead to 116-112 with seven seconds to play. Add this moment to the list of clutch baskets by Tatum in his career, including his opening night heave against the Milwaukee Bucks.
What Tatum struggles to find, or what has been the main hindrance of his short career to this point, is coming out of the gates hot, and taking better care of the ball. Despite his tremendous play of late, it has not come without its share of head-scratching decision-making. Careless passes, too much dribbling, and poor shot selection have all been a trade-off from his superstar performances we have seen of late. With less than 20 games left of the season, there is time for Tatum to work out the kinks before the team returns to the playoff picture.
Jaylen Brown’s Level Of Play
The biggest luxury of having both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown is how versatile the two can be on both ends of the floor while also counting on one to pick up the slack for the other on any given night. While Tatum earned himself Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Brown is right there with him in credit for the team’s recent success. His efficiency this season has elevated him to being a first-time All-Star, with reason for some All-NBA consideration.
While last season was deemed the passing of the torch to Jayson Tatum for his rise to superstardom, Brown has risen right to his level, and that makes this Celtics team so special. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both elite two-way players capable of taking control on the offensive side of the ball while locking up your favorite player on the other end. Brown is finally starting to get that kind of national recognition that his fellow running mate started to get last season, and in due time it will make the Boston Celtics one of the more premier franchises once again, perhaps as soon as this postseason.
Help From The Supporting Cast
The amplified level of play from the Boston Celtics has not only been a credit to their loyal fanbase, but also their new midseason acquisition, and it’s not just Evan Fournier. While the Frenchmen has been very impressive in his short stint to this point, anyone watching has seen the uptick in energy and chemistry on the floor since the return of Romeo Langford. Langford, 21, has seen himself incorporated back into the fold after returning to play earlier this month. He provides the team with the needed layer of hustle and effort that was lacking in the first half of the year.
Aside from Langford’s return, with the trade of Daniel Theis to the Chicago Bulls, it is now time for the long-awaited reign of Robert Williams III as the starting center for Boston. In his tenure as the team’s starting big, he has taken the mantle and ran with it as the young upstart is clearly capable of handling the larger role he has assumed.
With his uptick in minutes on the floor, he is proving that all he needed was a little more time on the court in order to have a greater impact on the stat sheet and in the win column. At just 23 years old, fans are eager to watch the young Williams grow alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for the foreseeable future.
Where Can Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown Take The Boston Celtics This Season?
In just their fourth and fifth years, respectively, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown already have more playoff and big moment experience than many players around the league, not just in their respective draft classes. At age 23, Tatum has played in 45 playoff games, and Brown has 61 games at 25 years. That kind of experience is pivotal for a team like Boston, with a handful of young players and a healthy mix of veterans. Marcus Smart, the team’s unsung hero, has 62 games of playoff experience himself, as he is the longest-tenured Celtics and has endured the daunting task of a deep playoff run multiple times.
While Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have proven to be counted on in the postseason, it will fall on the next seven, eight players in the rotation to find their chemistry and consistency to put together a solid run against the Eastern Conference titans like the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. This last stretch of the season is going to be very interesting to watch as the team continues to utilize their added level of incentive that is playing in front of their hometown arena, which could be all the more helpful in the playoffs once again.
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