Brown’s Near-Perfect Shooting Night Puts C’s on Verge of 1st-Round Perfection
Jaylen Brown will do whatever it takes to help his team win, even if that means changing his role on a night-to-night basis.
The Celtics have seen three different versions of Brown during each of their first three games of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and each time he has helped them snag a win over the Indiana Pacers.
In Game 1, it was Brown’s defense that made the difference, as he allowed just five points to be scored against him on 57 defensive possessions. Thirty-one of those possessions came against Pacers’ leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic, who managed to score just two points against Brown all game long.
In Game 2, Boston’s third-year wing dazzled with his crunch-time playmaking. He was responsible for creating the biggest play of the game on a beautiful drive-and-dish to Jayson Tatum for the go-ahead bucket in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
In Game 3, Brown was all about buckets. After scoring a total of just eight points on 11 field goal attempts through the first two games, the patient 22-year-old erupted Friday night for a game-high 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field, including a 4-of-5 clip from 3-point range, to help lead Boston to a 104-96 win at Bankers Life Field House.
In doing so, he became the first Celtics player to score at least 20 points on 88.0 percent shooting since Raef LaFrentz on April 23, 2005, also against the Pacers.
“Every game varies,” Brown explained after the game. “Every game is different. Game 1 was much different from Game 3, so I’m just trying to be locked in, be aggressive when I’m out there. Things are going to change, lineups are going to be switched around, so I just try to come out, be aggressive and tonight some shots happened to fall.”
It was more than just “some shots” that happened to fall for Brown. Nearly all of his attempts dropped through the net on his near-perfect night.
Brown made his first eight attempts of the game, including a 4-of-4 start from long range. His most spectacular stretch came during the opening frame, when he dropped in 12 points while shooting 4-of-4 from the field and 3-of-3 from deep.
Brown didn’t miss a shot until late in the fourth quarter when he had to chuck up a desperation 3 to beat the shot clock.
“He didn’t force anything that wasn’t there,” an impressed coach Brad Stevens stated. “I mean, the only shot he missed was that one at the end of the shot clock, great challenge by Myles Turner, in front of our bench.
“And then obviously he rebounded (seven boards) and he’s gotta guard Bogdanovic, which is a heck of a task, so I thought he played a good game.”
Playing a good game doesn’t always require a ton of points or shot attempts. Just as long as his players are making the right plays, Stevens will be satisfied.
“We just have to keep moving it and finding the next right guy, and if that means you get seven open ones one night and none the next, you’ve gotta move until we find the right one,” said the coach. “And so, that’s the encouraging part: not necessarily how many shots go down, but just finding the right ones.”
“I think that ultimately sometimes we overreact to makes,” he added. “But [Jaylen] has been great all three games defensively, and then I thought he made the pass of the game the other night, and then today it was his turn to get a few more shots.”
By knocking down those shots at a near-perfect clip, Brown and the C’s are now just one win away from pulling off a perfect, 4-0 mark in the first round.