BOSTON– For the last seven years, the success of the Boston Celtics has run through Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

While that remains the case in Boston, the duo no longer have to shoulder every ounce of the game. With an improved supporting cast, players like Derrick White, Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, the fellow starters have helped unlock Tatum and Brown.

In that same sentiment, the two Celtics stars are still improving, which now comes in their ability to elevate players around them.

To be fair, Tatum and Brown still produce plenty of impact individual performances, just as they did in the Celtics’ 120-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

Story continues below advertisement

Both players tallied 25 points and Tatum recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds. At the same time, they made impacts as defenders, passers and movements without the ball to create opportunities for teammates. Several members of the Celtics believe that the duo must be praised for total basketball efforts and not solely analyzed for their numbers on the box score.

“I think it’s so hard for those two guys because they’re constantly judged by (the box score),” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said to reporters. “They’re constantly judged by their three or four loud plays. They’re not looked at learning how to play basketball. From the standpoint of you don’t get credit for screen assists. Jayson is one of the better screeners in the league, but you don’t get the screen assist on the box score. … It’s about how they make everyone around them better and how they empower their teammates.”

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

“They do so much that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet,” Boston guard Derrick White said after the win. “Every time they drive, they attract two or three guys.”

Tatum and Brown are still called upon to lead Boston’s performances and play like superstars, no doubt. On this team, however, the path to dominating may change from game to game.

Story continues below advertisement

“Joe often challenges me to just dominate the game,” Tatum explained after the victory. “I understand the dynamic of our team and just how talented we are offensively. Everybody has to sacrifice. I’m certain that none of us are averaging career highs in points. They’ve all taken a dip, but it’s for the better of the team. Our success as a unit is more important. We understand that. We know what the ultimate goal is.”

“Yeah, they have to stuff the stat sheet,” Mazzulla explained. “… It’s the relation of how they make people better around them. It’s their defensive ability. They played hard most of the time, like 90%. They can dominate the game without shooting the ball.”

In a new style for Tatum and Brown, sacrifice has become a major buzzword in assessing the talent of the roster, which can be said for the rest of the starting lineup. The Celtics dish out several players who have had to emerge as dynamic scorers in previous seasons. Now, making winning plays may take away from their own statistics.

“It’s not easy, right?” Tatum discussed. “You’re accustomed to playing a certain way. Scoring a certain amount of points per game. You kind of have to empathize for every guy. It’s not easy, but we’re winning. We’re going to need everybody to achieve our ultimate goal.”

Story continues below advertisement

“You have to be able to credit them when we’re playing team basketball,” Mazzulla stated. “These guys have to navigate being All-Stars on a good team. That gets overlooked.”

No Matchup Found

Click here to enter a different Sportradar ID.

For a duo that has done just about everything in the NBA except win a title, Tatum and Brown compete with the ultimate goal at the forefront of their efforts.

“It is true that success looks different every night for each guy,” Tatum added. “Everyone is contributing. We’re the best team in the league. That takes care of everything.”

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re thankful to have them,” White said.

The Celtics look to keep momentum rolling with a dominant start at home at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Featured image via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images