Jaylen Brown’s Clutch Triple Drives C’s Past Pistons

DETROIT – Jaylen Brown planted his feet beyond the 3-point arc in the right corner Sunday night, waiting for his opportunity to give Boston a lift over the persistent Detroit Pistons.

Down by one point with 37 seconds remaining, Boston had plenty of veterans it could have turned to during the crunch time situation. However, it was the team’s youngest member that got the call.

Al Horford drove from the top of the key and kicked it out to Brown in the corner. Without hesitation, the rookie rose up off the catch and sunk the 3-pointer while drawing a foul from Marcus Morris.

The shot put Boston on top 98-96, and the C’s would not relinquish that lead as they went on to win, 104-98.

“I’ve taken thousands of shots in the corner,” said Brown, who tallied 13 points and five rebounds on the night. “It’s all mental. That’s all it comes down to, is to be ready, wait for your opportunity and execute.”

Regardless of the 20-year-old’s youth and inexperience, C’s coach brad Stevens expects him to remain poised during high-pressure situations. That’s why the coach had Brown in the game during the closing moments of the tight contest. And that’s why Stevens had utmost confidence that Brown could take and make the big-time shot.

“He put it up because it’s the right thing to do at that time,” said Stevens. “It doesn’t matter when the moment is. It doesn’t matter if it’s first quarter, fourth quarter; if you’re open on a catch-and-shoot shot and somebody made a play for you, you have to shoot it.”

When Brown came out of college, many basketball pundits did not consider him to be a particularly strong shooter. He’s fully aware of such evaluations, and he has used that as motivation to hone in on improving his stroke during his rookie season.

“I’ve worked on my shot because that’s what people have been critiquing me on my whole life,” said Brown. “I’ve gotten a lot better at it and I continue to get better at it. I’m not a guy that’s going to shoot 10 3s a game –I like to get to the basket. But some of those shots I do gotta take. Some of those shots I gotta let fly.”

Brown has been letting it fly so far out of the All-Star break. He has made back-to-back starts and has contributed back-to-back 13-point efforts during Boston’s two games post-All-Star Weekend.

The forward took full advantage of his time off last week, spending the first part of the break recovering from a hip flexor injury that sidelined him for three games ahead of All-Star Weekend, and then using the remainder of his time in the gym.

Initially, Brown was invited to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend, but he says he declined the offer because he had more important things to focus on during break.

“I was off eight or nine days, almost two weeks, so I knew I wanted to come back (to the gym in Waltham, Massachusetts) and be ready when the season kicked back off,” said Brown. “So that’s what I did. I just got mentally re-locked in. I still have a long way to go, but the second half of the season I want to be a lot more locked in.”

Brown’s teammates have taken note of the extra effort he puts in to better his game and are impressed by the sacrifices he’s willing to take to be the best version of himself on the court.

“He’s a dedicated player,” said Isaiah Thomas, who scored a game-high 33 points Sunday night. “He’s always in the gym, he’s always wanting to get better and learning and listening, so he has a bright future.”

Brown’s future should also include many more game-changing moments like the one he had Sunday night, as long as he maintains his on-court confidence and his strong work ethic in the gym.