There’s a handful of two-man combinations which have complimented each other just nicely on the Boston Celtics this season.
While Kyrie Irving and Al Hoford are the first duo which spring to mind, Irving has also meshed well with rookie sensation Jayson Tatum.
Speaking to Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger ahead of Boston’s clash with the Philadelphia 76ers in London on Thursday, Irving indirectly revealed that their on-court synergy could well originate from off the court.
After all, the pair of former Blue Devils already knew each other before their paths crossed in Boston.
“It was already developing into a brother-brother relationship, and then I ended up getting traded here and from that point, it just continued to develop,” Irving said. “I give him his space, and he gives me mine. But whenever he needs an ear to lend or that extra push, I’m there. I told him from day one, ‘No matter what’s going on out here, you can always look to me to exude that confidence in you.’”
The story also touched on Irving’s high expectations for Tatum by pointing to a dagger three the rookie knocked down against the Brooklyn Nets to clinch a two-point victory on January 8.
“He better make it,” Irving said, clearly not as giddy as most around Tatum at the time. “Wide-open in the corner, rookie or not, you better make the shot. Step into it and shoot it with confidence, and that’s what he’s been doing.”
It’s just as well the duo have come to expect success, playing in a city where expectations are higher than they’ve ever been since the ‘Big Three’ got together a decade ago.
Irving has been a revelation for the Celtics, even after everything we’d seen from him previously, while Tatum has also excelled while achieving the rarely seen feat of being a net positive for his team as a rookie.