Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are more than just a dynamic scoring duo. They’re also a dynamic playmaking duo, as they showed Friday night in New Orleans.
In an extraordinarily well-balanced scoring and facilitating attack, Brown and Tatum joined forces for 46 points of their own while helping to create 45 more via 17 combined assists. Together, they created an astronomical 91 points in a 117-109 win over the Pelicans, giving the Celtics their ninth straight victory.
This was a night in which Tatum wasn’t his usual self from a shooting standpoint, as he scored 19 points while making 6-of-18 from the field, 2-of-9 from 3-point range, and 5-of- 6 from the free-throw line. However, he found ways to elevate his teammates instead, dishing out a season-high 10 helpers in the fifth double-digit assist effort of his career.
Brown was a bit more on target with his shot, scoring a game-high 27 points while hitting 10-of-20 from the floor, 3-of-6 from deep, and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe. He still had room to hand out seven assists, finishing one shy of his season-high in that category.
Both Brown and Tatum also did a fantastic job of spreading the wealth to a variety of players, assisting five different teammates apiece.
As a result, the Celtics saw some high-scoring performances from Derrick White (26 points) and Al Horford (18 points). Both of those guys shot at least 75 percent from both the field and from 3-point range largely thanks to Brown and Tatum’s facilitation.
As a team, the Celtics had a brilliant night shooting the long ball. They made 20-of-46 from beyond the arc, including a franchise record of 10 makes during a 40-point first quarter. It marked their fourth game of the season with at least 20 makes from long distance, which is twice the number of such efforts than the next-closest team (Indiana with two).
Although the Jays accounted for only one quarter of those made themselves, they still assisted on 11 combined threes.
Even though neither one of them erupted in the scoring department, it was still one of the most productive all-around offensive efforts of Brown and Tatum’s combined careers.
Derrick Stays White-Hot
Derrick White continued a White-hot stretch Friday night with his third straight offensive masterpiece.
Starting in place of Marcus Smart (out with right ankle inflammation), White dropped in 26 points against the Pelicans, finishing just one point shy of his season-high in the scoring department. This came right after scoring 16 points in each of the previous two games, giving him 58 total points over the last three contests.
White’s scoring surge has been a product of consistently efficient shooting, as he’s shot at least 50 percent from both the field and from 3-point range over the past three outings, as well as a perfect 100 percent clip from the free-throw line in each of those games. Friday was by far his most impressive of the three, as he made 9-of-12 from the field, including a season-best 6-of-8 effort from deep.
Aside from his scoring, he’s also excelled as a playmaker. He’s had 16 assists over the last three games, including a season-high of 10 in Wednesday night’s 126-101 win in Atlanta. Despite all of those dimes, he only turned the ball over four times during that stretch. Although, he’s caused a bunch of turnovers on his end, racking up six steals, including a season-high of four Monday night against Oklahoma City.
White’s outbreak has come at an opportune time, considering the injury absences of both Smart and Brogdon, the latter of whom returned to action Friday night after missing four consecutive games with a strained right hamstring.
For a guy who is supposedly No. 3 on Boston’s point guard depth chart, White is certainly playing more like a No. 1 of late.