NBA

NBA All-Star Matchup: Kawhi Leonard-Paul George host Jayson Tatum-Jaylen Brown in battle of two-way duos

Get ready for an NBA Jam-type two-on-two matchup at the STAPLES Center on Saturday, with the LA Clippers hosting the Boston Celtics.

We'll see a pair of the NBA's best duos go head-to-head in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George matching up with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

All four players are not only expected to be named All-Stars in their respective conferences, but they're also all receiving consideration for starting spots. And with Brown seeking the first All-Star bid of his career, it adds even more of an incentive to step up on Saturday's bright stage.

VOTE FOR YOUR 2021 NBA ALL-STAR STARTING LINEUPS

If you caught either of the contests between the Clippers and Celtics last season, you'll understand that this game is must-see-TV.

Remember this from the last time these teams played in Los Angeles?

In 2019-20, both of their meetings went into overtime with the game in Boston even reaching double-overtime. The home team took the victory in each matchup, but not before more than a handful of highlight plays and big shots.

A lot has changed on both rosters since those battles last season but with Leonard, George, Tatum and Brown all elevating their games to a higher level, this has the juice to be one of the best regular-season games of the year.

The efficient rate at which Leonard and George are scoring is historic.

You've likely heard of the term "50-40-90" meaning a player is shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line. That feat has only been achieved 12 times in NBA history with eight different players in the 'club'. No two players have ever accomplished it in the same season, never mind on the same team.

While it's only just over a quarter into the season, Leonard and George are both on their way to a 50-40-90 campaign.

Meanwhile, Tatum and Brown are each enjoying career-years, placing themselves in elite company in terms of scoring as a duo.

With Tatum averaging 26.8 points per game and Brown averaging 26.4 points per game - both of which are career-highs for the two young stars - they're one of three tandems in the NBA that are averaging 25 or more points per game.

The Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are the other two, but neither Irving nor McCollum have played in 75 percent of their teams' games.

Only eight duos in the past 20 years have averaged over 25 points per game for an entire season. If Tatum and Brown can keep this up, they'd join a list that is laden with Hall-of-Fame talent.

Teammates to average 25+ PPG in last 20 seasons
Year Team Players
2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James and Anthony Davis
2019-20 Houston Rockets James Harden and Russell Westbrook
2018-19 Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry
2017-18 Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry
2016-17 Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry
2016-17 Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James and Kyrie Irving
2010-11 Miami Heat LeBron James and Dwyane Wade
2007-08 Denver Nuggets Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson
2002-03 Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal
2001-02 Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal
2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal

Not bad company to be a part of.

And if all of that offensive firepower isn't enough to get you excited for this matchup, the best part is, with Leonard, George, Tatum and Brown being four of the best two-way players in the NBA today, we'll all but certainly see them go toe-to-toe on the defensive end of the floor, too.

High-level scoring and tough defence from four of the NBA's most talented players competing on the national TV stage... what more could you ask for?

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from NBA.com

Monty
Williams named NBCA Coach of the Year
Official Release
nba-plain--46c3940a-87d5-4d60-b70e-cd662170b29f.jpeg
Defensive Player Ladder: Gobert tops list in finale
Steve Aschburner
nba-plain--52c356ea-2ebc-4e6b-9870-48d701394f50.jpeg
One reason to watch each Play-In team
Scott Rafferty
basketball-africa-league-nba-media-central
Takeaways from first BAL games, J. Cole debut
NBA.com Staff
nba-plain--4f9d01b3-051f-4c18-870d-73d01405a1bd.jpeg
Our picks for MVP, DPOY, MIP and more
NBA.com Staff
celtics-wizards-ftr.jpeg
Can Tatum keep up with Westbrook, Beal?
Kane Pitman
More News