These stats highlight the influence of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the Celtics-Nets سلسلة

There has been a lot of discussion this season about how Jason Tatum and Jaylene Brown have improved as professionals, playmakers and leaders.

But their strides on the defensive end may be the biggest reason the Boston Celtics are on the brink of elimination.

Keep an eye on these storylines as Celtics strive to sweep the nets

Tatum and Brown both played key roles in a fierce Celtics defense that kept Kevin Durant in check for three games in a row and made Kyrie Irving an afterthought in games 2 and 3.

If you need statistical proof, consider this: Tatum and Brown rank first and third, respectively, among everyone Defenders in the 2022 postseason in deflections per game.

Here are the top four post-season deflection leaders through Monday:

  1. Jason Tatum, Celtics: 5.7
  2. Jimmy Butler, Heat: 5.3
  3. Jaylen Brown, Celtics: 4.3
  4. Nikola Jokic, Nuggets: 4.0

Remarkably, Celtics’ top offensive players are among the most active defenders in the post-season. It’s hard to find a single elite player at both ends, and Boston has two players aged 25 or younger.

Even more remarkable is that Tatum and Brown do it against two of the best offensive players of their generation. Tatum in particular clamped down on Durant throughout the series, limiting the Nets star to just 2 out of 15 firing ranges (0 out of 4 from a 3-point range) with 10 points and 10 turns as Durant’s primary defender.

Kevin Durant vs. Jason Tatum

That’s it while Tatum averages 29.7 points and 8.0 assists per game on the offensive end, including 39 points in Game 3 that helped the Celtics to a 3-0 lead.

Tatum and Brown had a lot of support from those around them: The Celtics boasted the NBA Defensive Player of the Year title Marcus had clever and sound defensive principles that helped the team finish the #1 ranked defensive position during the regular season. So, Tatum and Brown’s deflecting stats are in part a reflection of coach Aim Odoka’s focus on the team’s defense and substitution potential.

But nevertheless, it is impressive that Boston had the full defensive backing of its top players, who captured the series on both ends of the floor. As for a Nets star? not much.

Keri Irving defense

Noticeable: Games 4-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be broadcast exclusively on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on NBCSportsBoston.com or through the MyTeams app, which you can download below.

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