Tatum and Brown set a fitting Celtics record in Game 3 win

Tatum and Brown set a fitting Celtics record in Game 3 win originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Even after Boston acquired Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday last offseason, the prevailing narrative entering the 2023-24 season remained the same: The Celtics would go as far as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown took them.

Fast forward to Wednesday night, when the All-Star duo delivered their team to the doorstep of Banner 18.

Tatum (31 points) and Brown (30 points) combined for 61 of Boston’s 106 points in Game 3 of the 2024 NBA Finals, making several clutch plays down the stretch to help the Celtics survive a late Dallas Mavericks surge and secure a 106-99 win that gave them a 3-0 series lead.

Tatum and Brown now have each scored at least 25 points in the same playoff game 18 times, surpassing Larry Bird and Kevin McHale for the most such games in Celtics franchise history, per Justin Kubatko of Statitudes.com.

The Jays didn’t just get buckets, either: Tatum added five assists and six rebounds while Brown tallied eight rebounds and eight assists, making them the first duo in Celtics history to record at least 30 points, five rebounds and five assists in the same Finals game.

It’s pretty remarkable that Tatum and Brown already have leapfrogged a pair of Basketball Hall of Famers in Bird and McHale, who won three championships together in 1981, 1984 and 1986. But the pair of No. 3 overall draft picks have made the postseason every year since they became teammates in 2017-18 and rank first and second among all active players in total playoff games since 2018 (111 for Tatum and 105 for Brown).

So, even though Brown is just 27 and Tatum is 26, they’ve been here before, and they’re capable of repeatedly delivering on the big stage.

“We were able to make plays and find a way to win,” Brown said after Wednesday’s win. “We’ve been in those positions, and we’ve lost. It was great to overcome that with my brother Jayson, and with our team. That was special.”

Tatum and Brown shared an embrace at center court in Dallas after pulling out the Game 3 victory, with Tatum telling Brown how proud he was of his fellow All-Star. It was a fitting way to conclude a historic night for Boston’s two best players, who have been the foundation for the Celtics’ historic success this season and are one win away from winning their first championship together.

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