Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum sacrificing for Celtics wins: ‘Everybody’s feeling good’

Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum sacrificing for Celtics wins: ‘Everybody’s feeling good’

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Jaylen Brown took over on Saturday night in the Boston Celtics’ win over the New York Knicks. The All-Star scored 30 points on 13-of-24 shooting. He led the Celtics in scoring and shot attempts. But that’s not the norm for him.

Brown is averaging just 16.2 shots per game over the course of Boston’s current eight-game win streak, their longest of the season. Last year, he put up 20.6 shots per contest.

Jayson Tatum is facing a similar, though not as drastic, shift. His 19.4 shots per game are down from the 21.1 he took last year, but his decision-making is the true shift present on a night-to-night basis. The same can be said for both stars.

“I think we’ve been identifying mismatches [and] playing the game through each other,” Brown said. “Everybody has sacrificed a little bit. And we all just kind of play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. I think we’ve been pretty consistent in that all year long.

“And I think that’s gonna be key, especially in those moments of adversity when it gets tough. How much can we stick to that game plan? But I think we’ve done a good job all year long of just trusting each other and playing basketball.”

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks

Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Fresh off a Jalen Brunson 13-point Master Class in the first, the Celtics looked to Brown in the second quarter. With 7:12 to go in the quarter and Boston up five, Brown nailed a tough turnaround middy. From there, the Celtics fed him the rock.

He scored eight straight points for the Celtics and continued to impact the game in other ways. From momentum-inducing dunks to big-time stops on defense, Brown’s sacrifices over the course of Boston’s win streak paid off in a big way.

The Celtics weren’t looking to help Brown score because they wanted to repay him for his team-first play, though. They just wanted to find the hot hand.

On the flip side of the Celtics stars coin, Tatum took a backseat against the Knicks. He only took 15 shots, instead taking on a playmaking role, a job he and Brown have excelled at this season.

“It’s a feel for the game because what makes them special is that they have to look for their own a lot of the time. You have to look for that,” said Al Horford. “And if the defense takes that away, then you kind of quickly are able to find something else. So, they’re finding that good balance.”

New York threw a ton of pressure at Tatum, but he continuously made the right play time and time again.

“They were doubling him tonight quickly, so he stopped looking for his, and he was just trying to make the right pass and make the right play,” Horford said. “And the rest of us, we have to make sure that we make the defense pay for doing those things.”

The Tatum-for-MVP campaign that was kickstarted at All-Star Weekend dominated headlines, and his lack of bucket-hunting could end up squashing his chance at the trophy.

But that doesn’t matter.

“Even JT. He deserves a lot, like a lot of credit, because he could say, ‘F it, I want to score 30 every night., I want to get the MVP.’ But he’s not doing that,” said Kristaps Porzingis. “And I think people are overlooking that. And you have to give him credit because when he does that, it makes everybody else do that. And then we’re winning games because everybody’s feeling good.”

From Brown’s high-volume, low-volume shot-attempt nights to Tatum’s increased willingness to be an offensive hub, the Celtics are winning because of their sacrifices.

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