In Limited Minutes, Brown Delivers Again for Green

P.J. Brown

P.J. Brown didn't post gaudy numbers, but he made his presence felt and the Garden crowd gave him a huge ovation in the fourth.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty

On Thursday night, amid the Celtics' 98-88 Game 1 victory over the Lakers in the NBA Finals, a different Big Brown took center stage in the sports universe.

Fortunately for his Celtics' teammates, P.J. Brown rebounds--and undoubtedly smells--a whole lot better than the favored steed in the Belmont Stakes. The 15-year veteran, who has seen significant minutes since the Cavaliers' series, played a critical role in Game 1 of the Finals, manning the middle for much of the fourth quarter in place of the injured Kendrick Perkins.

In twenty-one minutes overall, Brown scored two points and grabbed six rebounds, but the center-forward's biggest contributions once again missed the box score entirely. Brown did much of the dirty work for the Celtics, repeatedly clogging the lanes, boxing out Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol, while forcing several key turnovers. Brown's plus-10 on the evening was the team's second-best, trailing only Paul Pierce.

"I'm not needed to score, not needed to put the ball in the basket," Brown said after the game. "We got enough scoring, so all the rest of us just need to do the little things...rebounding, diving on the floor for loose balls, and playing good 'D'."

For Brown, who spent much of the regular season in quasi-retirement, a familiarity with the Celtics' style has made it possible to contribute at this late stage.

"[The Celtics'] defensive scheme is similar to what I had been playing with when I was in Miami," Brown told reporters after the game. "I've been familiar with this type of system throughout my career."

In conjunction with his minutes, Brown has seen his comfort level and overall confidence rise. Still, even with his strong performance in Game 1 of the Finals, the veteran still sees room for improvement.

"I'm just focused and prepared. I come out there and I'm ready to do whatever it takes, whatever the team needs me to do, especially defending and rebounding. I thought tonight was a good night for me, but I think I can do better. I'm going to look at film, study it, and hopefully have a better game in Game 2."

James Posey had nothing but praise for his teammate after the game.

"[Brown's] been doing it his [entire] career, so it doesn't surprise me," the Celtics' forward said. "He's a solid defender, he can rebound, he can knock down the jump shot as well, so it's not surprising 'cause that's what he's known for...He works hard, plays hard, and is all about winning."

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