3 takeaways as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown step up when it matters in Finals rematch


It was far from pretty, and it even took overtime, but the Celtics were able to defeat their kryptonite in the Golden State Warriors, 121-118, on Thursday night en route to their eighth consecutive victory.

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It was a slow start for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who shot a combined 6-of-27 (22%) through the first three quarters, but the Celtics got major contributions from Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams that kept them afloat until the Jays got going.

It was Horford who provided the spark for Boston in the first quarter, as he poured in 10 points, grabbed five rebounds, and had a nasty chase-down block on Warriors guard Jordan Poole.

Horford wore his emotions on his sleeve early on, as he hit the Warriors with the “too small” celebration not once, but twice. Horford said after the game, “It’s a big game. I wanted to come out here and I wanted to win, I wanted to win really bad… I was pretty bummed I had to miss the first one. I was very glad I was here for this one tonight.”

The Celtics would take advantage of Steph Curry being off the floor in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 13-4 while he was off the court. But Curry did what Curry does, as the Warriors would outscore the Celtics 25-16 when he checked back in, and he would put the Warriors on top at the half with this ridiculous 46-foot shot.

Here are three takeaways from Thursday night’s NBA Finals rematch:

Tatum and Brown step up when it matters

For most of the game Thursday night, it was the Warriors’ duo of Curry and Klay Thompson that outdueled Tatum and Brown. However, after starting the game ice cold, the Jays found themselves and stepped up when it really mattered.

Tatum had a monster night, as he scored 34 points and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds. Twenty-one of his points and 11 of his rebounds came in the second half and overtime.

Brown had a rough night shooting, as he shot just 6-of-18 from the field, but he would come up with the biggest shot of the night with his lone made three to force overtime.

Joe Mazzulla stuck with the Jays for big minutes, as Tatum played a career-high 48 minutes and Brown, who was questionable entering the game, played 41.


Turnovers were the death of the Celtics in last year’s NBA Finals, and they were a problem again on Thursday night. The Celtics totaled 17 turnovers, which resulted in 24 points for the Warriors.

Trailing by just one point, Boston would turn the ball over on back-to-back possessions in the final 1:14 of the fourth quarter, which is playing with fire against a team like the Warriors.

If this Celtics team wants to raise a banner this summer, they have to limit the turnovers.

Double-big lineup

The double-big lineup with Horford and Robert Williams has been great for the Celtics when we have seen it and Thursday night was no different. The Celtics play their best defense with the double-big lineup and it kept them alive on Thursday.

Boston totaled 18 offensive rebounds, which led to 22 second-chance points for the Celtics. Ten of those 18 offensive rebounds were grabbed by Horford and Williams.

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports