The Boston Celtics’ current group of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, all rookies to this atmosphere, have thrived under the spotlight of the NBA Finals.
The rookie trio created a Finals record with their outstanding all-around performances in Boston’s 116-100 win against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Tatum, Brown, and Smart became the first trio from the same team to score at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists in a finals match in nearly four decades. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Michael Cooper of the Los Angeles Lakers were the last players to achieve the feat in 1984.
Brown led the Celtics in scoring with 27 points on a 9-of-16 performance, as well as nine rebounds (second on the team behind Robert Williams) and five assists. Brown set the stage with his 17-point first-quarter outburst, as well as his desire to assist on the floor.
Tatum scored 26 points to match Brown’s record, and he managed to show off his passing ability abilities with nine assists, along with a spectacular pass that set up Payton Pritchard for a 3-pointer.
Smart scored 24 points, grabbed seven boards, and dished out five assists, putting him directly among Tatum and Brown in points. Smart made a crucial 3-pointer in the final quarter to allow the Boston start to pull away, despite some excruciating blunders. Tatum’s excellent performance in Game 3 has retained him as the favorite to win the NBA Finals MVP title, with +105 odds to win the prize.
Tatum, however, will not be able to defeat the Warriors on his own, and huge efforts from Brown and Smart will be required in the future. The three will seek to guide the Celtics once more in Game 4, which will take place at TD Garden on Friday.