It has played out behind closed doors at the Auerbach Center for years now. But Sunday night, Boston Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown brought their one-on-one battle to the NBA All-Star Game.
Tatum and Brown took over the final minute of the third quarter with everybody watching, including the players on the court who respectfully stood off to the side with an up-close view of the in-game entertainment.
The duo went back-and-forth at each other with some successes and some failures as they stole the spotlight.
It’s rare to see two teammates get the chance to go one-on-one, but Tatum explained that it was nothing out of the ordinary.
“That was cool. It was normal for us. It was just millions of people watching,” Tatum told ESPN’s Malika Andrews following a 184-175 win for Team Giannis over Team LeBron, as seen on the network. “We have played one-on-one so many times, but kind of for the world to get to see that on a big stage, to have our moment, was special.”
Brown shared a similar sentiment as he zoned in on a facing Tatum.
“Going up against my brother Jayson, going back and forth, it was like nobody was in (the arena) at all, just me and him,” Brown told reporters, per The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
The thrilling moment between the two pillars of the Celtics was set up when LeBron James selected Brown amongst the reserves as part of his team. When it came time to pick the starters, Giannis Antetokounmpo scooped up Tatum right away.
Brown hit a jumper and a deep 3-pointer over Tatum in the all-Celtics encounter while also losing track of the game clock and not getting a shot off as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter. Tatum had his own blunder by dribbling the ball out of bounds trying to size up Brown before drilling a triple.
Tatum and Brown both shone bright, though. Tatum walked away with MVP honors after scoring an NBA All-Star Game record 55 points while Brown netted a team-high 35 points and 14 rebounds.
And while their one-on-one showdown played out in front of a much larger audience this time around, there will probably be more battles that few see in the future.