Celtics’ ‘Utility Guys’ Becoming Most Valuable Postseason Duo

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Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the Celtics’ best duo, and there really isn’t much of an argument to be made to the contrary.

Tatum is the face of the franchise. He’ll soon be the highest-paid player in Boston, can lead the team in any statistical category and has built up a rather impressive resume in his seven seasons. Brown is currently the highest-paid player in the city, has improved each year of his career and displayed his value perfectly in Game 1 and Game 2 wins over the Indiana Pacers.

Is it crazy to say they aren’t the Celtics’ most valuable duo, though?

Jrue Holiday and Derrick White have (unsurprisingly) been tremendous throughout the postseason, and put together another gem Thursday. The Celtics’ backcourt duo combined for 38 points on 63% shooting from the field and 58% from beyond the arc, pitching in seven rebounds and 16 assists with a single turnover.

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It’s not like they flooded the box score, but they did exactly what they’ve done all season — and stayed true to who they are.

“(We’re) utility guys, guys that will do anything to win,” Holiday said, describing himself and White following Game 2. “I feel like that’s kind of what is important. It’s not necessarily getting your stats or seeing what it looks like, but doing whatever it takes to win.”

It’s a bit more simple when you ask Joe Mazzulla.

“They’re just really good basketball players,” Mazzulla said. “… They come into a game open-minded on how they can impact it in different ways. Sometimes it’s defense, sometimes it’s pick-and-roll handling, sometimes it’s screening, sometimes it’s scoring, sometimes it’s shot-making.”

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All the time it’s defense.

White and Holiday were named second-team All-Defense on Tuesday. It’s just a testament, and perhaps not a fully representative one, of what the duo has done throughout the season.

It’s fair to say the C’s aren’t up 2-0 in the series without them, and there’s an argument to be made they don’t even get this far by riding the relatively inconsistent hands of Brown and Tatum. We don’t want to diminish what anyone has done, because there’s far too much of that going around, but the truth of the matter is White and Holiday have been awesome for Boston.

If you start any more “MVP” chants at TD Garden this postseason, maybe you can toss a couple their way.

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