Celtics' Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown show united front as Jason Kidd comment stirs debate

Boston, Massachusetts - The Boston Celtics, coming off an authoritative game one victory over Dallas in the NBA Finals, aren't about to let Mavericks coach Jason Kidd get in their heads going into game two.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (l.) and guard Jaylen Brown are brushing off comparisons as they look toward Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (l.) and guard Jaylen Brown are brushing off comparisons as they look toward Game 2 of the NBA Finals.  © Collage: Adam Glanzman / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

In comments widely interpreted as a bid to sow discord in the Celtics ranks, Kidd twice told reporters on Saturday that Jaylen Brown is Boston's "best" player – but Brown and star teammate Jayson Tatum didn't bite.

"No reaction," Tatum said as the teams spoke to reporters ahead of Sunday's game two in Boston. "This is a team sport, right. We understand that."

"We wouldn't be here if we didn't have JB on our team and we can say that for a lot of guys."

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"We have all played a part in getting to where we're at, and we understand that people try to drive a wedge between us. I guess it's a smart thing to do or try to do."

"We've been in this position for many of years of guys trying to divide us and say that one of us should be traded or one is better than the other. So it's not our first time at the rodeo."

Brown led Boston's scoring with 22 points and was dominant on the defensive end in Thursday's 107-89 victory.

"Jaylen is their best player," Kidd said when asked about the difficulty of containing him. "Just looking at what he does defensively, he picked up Luka (Doncic) full court. He got to the free throw line."

"He did everything, and that's what your best player does. Just understanding he plays both sides, defense and offense, at a high rate. And he's been doing that the whole playoffs."

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum keep their eyes on the prize

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (c.) and forward Jayson Tatum (l.) high five during game one of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.
Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (c.) and forward Jayson Tatum (l.) high five during game one of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.  © USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

Brown and Tatum are familiar with the question of which is the team's top star – long a favorite topic of media debate.

As always, Brown said, the Celtics are tuning it out, even though this time it comes from a coach whose three trips to the NBA Finals as a player included a championship run with Dallas in 2011.

"We've been just extremely focused on what our roles and our jobs are," Brown said. "We have all had to sacrifice. Jason (Kidd) has had to do that at the highest of levels, right, and I respect him and tip his cap for it."

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"Right now, at this point, it's whatever it takes to win and we can't let any outside interpretations try to get in between us."

Instead, Brown said, the Celtics are focused on finding more ways to unsettle the Mavericks' star duo of Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

"We've got to be ready because they are really good after a loss," Brown said.

That is just what Kidd is counting on.

"I think there's no panic with this group," Kidd said. "We didn't play well in game one ... but it's a series and we don't just look to capitalize on just one game."

"We believe that we can respond in game two."

Cover photo: Collage: Adam Glanzman / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

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