The Boston Celtics faced the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden in a rare late afternoon Friday game. Boston were in control for the majority of the game as they only trailed in the first few minutes and had a 62-47 lead at halftime. The Celtics ended the opening quarter by scoring the final seven points. They had a 33-22 lead at the end of the first quarter after Jayson Tatum hit a 3-point shot with 4.9 seconds remaining. In the middle of the second quarter, Boston went on a 10-0 run to take a 22 point lead over the Cavaliers. The Celtics kept a double-digit lead throughout the third quarter with a 92-81 lead heading into the fourth. Cleveland eventually got the deficit to single digits early on in the fourth quarter but Boston secured the victory after Jaylen Brown nailed back to back 3s just 25 seconds apart to make it 108-90 with about 7 minutes left. The Celtics would then close out for the victory by a score of 129-117.
The Boston Celtics definitely seem to have two young stars developing in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Brown equaled his career high with 34 points and Tatum scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half. This win marked the fifth straight victory for Boston. Brown had the first consecutive 30-point games of his career with 30 points on Christmas Day against Toronto. Enes Kanter had 14 points and Kemba Walker had 13 for the Celtics. Gordon Hayward notched seven points and eight assists in just his second game back after a sore left foot caused him to miss three. Marcus Smart missed his eight straight game with an eye infection and coach Brad Stevens said prior to the game that he has not been ruled out for Saturday yet. Kevin Love tied his season high with 30 points and had seven rebounds for Cleveland. Collin Sexton had 21 points as well but it was not enough for the Cavaliers as their three game winning streak came to an end.
The emergence of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum should excite any Celtics fan. It was the first time that each of them scored 30 points in the same game and it was the latest example of how powerful this combination can be. The reason why the Celtics have a record of 22-7 and are currently second place in the Eastern Conference is because while they have two All-Stars in Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward, it is the 23-year-old Jaylen Brown and the 21-year-old Jayson Tatum leading the way for Boston. Brown and Tatum both went 5-for-10 from 3-point range. As good as both of them are from behind the arc, they can both shoot from just about anywhere on the court and this is what makes them both unstoppable when they are at the top of their game. Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are all averaging more than 20 points per game and the Celtics are the only team in the NBA to have three players averaging 20+ points per game. The incredible thing about the duo of Brown and Tatum is that they are both still young and are only going to get better as their careers progress. If Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum continue to perform like they are right now on a consistent basis, then the rest of the league has to take Boston seriously as a legitimate contender in the East. Brown and Tatum seem to have a bright future ahead of them and even though at one point these two were in some trade talks for a possible superstar player, it looks they might be turning into superstar players themselves and that Danny Ainge hit the jackpot by drafting both of them.