Rise Up: Brown Smashes Celtics Record in Rising Stars Game
Over the years, the Boston Celtics have had many young stars showcase their potential during All-Star Weekend's Rising Stars exhibition. No player in franchise history, however, has taken advantage of the event quite like Jaylen Brown did Friday night.
Despite his Team USA being drubbed by Team World, 155-124, Brown dominated the night with a game-high 35 points on 14-of-21 shooting from the field. In the process, he demolished the previous Celtics Rising Stars scoring record of 20 points that was set by Antoine Walker during the 1997 game.
"That's cool," Brown said when hearing of the newly established record. "It's just great being here. It's a tremendous opportunity. I just thank the NBA for letting me be a part of this weekend."
Being a part of All-Star weekend allowed Brown to show off his skills on a stage that he had never stood on before. Playing in an internationally televised game in front of countless NBA stars and celebrities at Staples Center, Brown wanted to use the unique platform as a way to prove his value.
"I'm playing in front of a world audience and I definitely feel like I've got a chip on my shoulder, so I came out with that tenacity that I want people to recognize and I want people to see," said Brown, who also corralled a team-high 10 rebounds during his 24 minutes of play. "I just came out and played with that fire and let everything else fall into place."
Brown scored eight points during the opening five minutes of the game, that included consecutive 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions. He had 16 points by halftime and continued his torrid pace after the break by putting up 19 more points during the second half.
Brown wasn't the only Celtic to enjoy Friday's showcase of young stars. Teammate Jayson Tatum came off the bench to score 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting, as well as four rebounds, two assists and two steals during a game-high 26 minutes of play. In all, it wasn't a bad start for the Celtics at All-Star Weekend.
"It was great to share the experience with JB," said Tatum, who joined Brown as the 16th and 17th Rising Stars selectees in Celtics history. "We both deserved to be here and we both had fun."
Unfortunately, Brown and Tatum were two of the few shining stars for Team USA, which lacked the collective tenacity that Team World displayed throughout the game. Team World, led by an MVP performance from Sacramento rookie wing Bogdan Bogdanovic (26 points, 7-of-13 shooting from 3-point range), had eight players finish with double-figures in scoring, while Team USA had only four such performances.
Regardless of the blowout defeat, Brown and Tatum had smiles on their faces throughout the night. The duo put on a show for fans by tallying 10 slam-dunks between them.
"We didn't win, but we had some highlight plays," said Tatum. "So that was cool."
It was also cool to see what it was like to have Tatum and Brown completely carry the load for their team. It offered a potential glimpse into the future, should the duo remain together on the Celtics for years to come.