Brown Makes Celtics History With ‘Unreal’ Performance in LA

Brad Stevens had one word to describe Jaylen Brown’s performance against the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night:

“Unreal.”

So unreal that it made Boston Celtics history.

Brown erupted for 40 points while shooting a staggering 17-of-20 from the field, as he led the Celtics to a 121-113 victory at STAPLES Center. In doing so, he became the first player in franchise history to log a 40-point game while shooting at least 85 percent from the field.

The All-Star wing led the Celtics out of the gate on a 14-2 run in the first four minutes, scoring all but four of those points himself. As an NBA history buff, it was exactly the type of energy and performance he had hoped to provide for the Celtics in the latest chapter of the greatest rivalry in all of basketball.

"I just wanted to come and be aggressive," he said after guiding Boston to its fifth straight win. "Celtics-Lakers matchup is a matchup that kids dream about.”

This dream lasted for several hours, as Brown became the Lakers’ worst nightmare. He remained consistent throughout the contest, logging 10 points in the first quarter, 11 in the second, 10 in the third, and nine in the fourth.

Brown was nearly perfect from 2-point range, as he shot 14-of-15 from inside the 3-point arc. His lone miss came on a pull-up jumper 87 seconds after tip-off, after which he shot 13-of-13 from inside the arc.

JB was efficient from beyond the arc as well, as he knocked down 3-of-5 from long range. However, it’s worth noting that one of those misses came on a full-court heave to beat the third-quarter buzzer. On top of all that, he also converted all three of his free-throw attempts on the night.

“He just stayed hot,” said Stevens. “I think that he's done a good job. Tonight, he was really dialed in scoring the ball. You're not going to always shoot as well as he did tonight. Obviously, that's like once-a-season type numbers, usually. But he's had a great year and he continues to get better, and tonight was the night that he got going and we tried to ride that as much as possible.”

The greatest indicator of Brown’s impact was his plus/minus rating. With him on the court, the Celtics outscored L.A. by 36 points. But during his 14 minutes on the bench, the Lakers held a 28-point advantage. His +36 rating was more than double that of any other Celtics player; Luke Kornet was a distant second at +17.

Brown not only played a key role with the starters, but also with the second unit. The combination of him, Kornet, Romeo Langford, Payton Pritchard, and Grant Williams dominated the Lakers late in the third quarter through the early part of the fourth, as they turned a 10-point lead into a 27-point advantage. In the process, the other starters were able to sit back and relax a bit before being brought back in during the last couple of minutes to seal the win.

“I thought [Jaylen] with the second unit separated the game,” said Stevens. “It allowed us to get some rest for those other guys. He was great tonight, and I can't say enough good things.”

Not many words were needed to describe Brown’s performance, as he let his play do most of the talking. The only thing that needed to be said about his historic effort was that it was simply unreal.

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