Celtics' Jaylen Brown Backs Jayson Tatum Pairing: 'I Think We Can Play Together'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 9, 2022

Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown plays against the New York Knicks during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan 8, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The Celtics are 19-21 after 40 games despite beating the New York Knicks 99-75 at home on Saturday.

After the game, Celtics All-Star wing Jaylen Brown told reporters that he and fellow All-Star Jayson Tatum could still play together and succeed amid Boston's second straight mediocre season.

Per ESPN's Tim Bontemps:

"I think we can play together. We have played together well for the majority of our career and things like that. The last year or so hasn't gone as expected, but I think a lot of the adversity that we're kind of going through now is going to help us grow and get better in the future.
"If we get over this slump and continue to learn, I think there's a lot of good basketball on the other side of this. I only can control what I can control. I understand everybody has to do their jobs, but me and JT talk. We talked after the game, communicated with each other and things like that. So we're on the same page. I get where all the other frustration comes from, but as long as I'm on the same page with him and he's on the same page with me, that's where we're most focused on. So tonight we wanted to come out and get a win and we did it."

Brown and Tatum became teammates in 2017, and the Celtics began developing around the duo as its centerpiece in 2019 after point guard Kyrie Irving left in free agency for the Brooklyn Nets.

The C's made the Eastern Conference Finals to cap a 2019-20 season in which they finished with a 48-24 record, but Boston went 36-36 last year and won't have a winning record at the midway point of this campaign.

Saturday still resulted in an encouraging win that created hope for the future, however. The Celtics allowed just 49 points in the final three quarters as Brown finished with a 22-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist triple-double.

Tatum had a quieter night (19 points in 29 minutes), but he contributed to a dominant defensive effort that led to New York posting its lowest scoring output of the season.

Boston had lost five of seven leading into Saturday's Knicks game, but the C's will hope to construct a far better stretch as they begin a home-and-home series with the Indiana Pacers on Monday.