It’s really starting to feel like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum actively listen to criticism of themselves and the underperforming Boston Celtics.
And then turn it around and use it as bulletin board material when they feel like it.
Following what some have referred to as the most “most embarrassing loss” of the Celtics’ season, longtime play-by-play broadcaster Mike Gorman bluntly expressed doubt that Brown and Tatum are capable of being the leaders the team needs at this point in their careers.
How did the All-Star wing duo respond to all this? With a combined 73 points on 54.4% shooting, 15 rebounds and 12 assists in a 120-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens was happy to see them set that example.
“The modeling has to come from Jayson and Jaylen, right?” Stevens said after the game. “That’s part of the growth of great players, and, you know, even beyond All-Stars. Guys that can take that next step, that impact winning, that are great leaders that are great players. And so in a lot of ways, that’s a burden that great players carry.”
Brown set the tone with 20 points in the first quarter, finishing with a game-high 38 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a block. Tatum was right behind with 35 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and a steal.
Playing great two-man ball from the jump and then taking back over down the stretch to effectively help put Charlotte away, the pair showed how Boston is at its best when they’re playing off each other.
Or, when members of the media are calling them out.
“I’m appreciative of (Brown’s) efforts, I’m appreciative of Jayson’s efforts,” Stevens said. “Those two guys, they came in and made it hard for us to be beat tonight.”
That they did.