Brown Launches Celtics Past Rockets in Return

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Jaylen Brown was ready for launch Monday night, and he gave Houston quite a problem.

After missing the past eight games with a strained right hamstring, Brown returned to action at TD Garden where he scored 19 points in 23 minutes of action, while helping the Celtics take off over the Rockets for a 108-90 win.

It took Brown a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things, as he went scoreless through the first quarter and a half. However, once he hit his first bucket at the 6:42 mark of the second quarter, he was off to the races.

Brown scored his first seven points from the 6:42 mark of the second quarter to the 4:33 mark when he was subbed out until halftime. He then emerged out of the break and scored 12 more over the first five minutes and 16 seconds of the third quarter, including a personal 8-0 run that took place during a 50-second span right in the midst of a 24-3 Celtics run.

“The big thing was just for him to get kind of his legs underneath him, feel confidence moving on the court, feel confident in himself moving on the court,” fellow starter Al Horford said of Brown after the game. “And once he was able to get a couple of baskets, and you could see that he felt more comfortable with everything, he opened up.”

Admittedly, Brown didn’t feel totally comfortable in his first game back despite heading into the game feeling fine. His hamstring tightened up early in the first quarter; though, fortunately, it didn’t get any worse as the game wore on. He played four stints that last roughly six minutes apiece and he made sure to stay loose on the sidelines when he wasn’t in on the action.

He insisted, “I’m taking the right precautions and the right measures in order to get back to being myself out there, and I think I'm for sure moving in the right direction.”

It’s a tough injury to balance because it causes more of a lasting tightness than a lasting soreness. He had been pain-free for several days leading up to his return, but the Celtics medical staff wanted to make sure he felt beyond 100 percent healthy before putting him back on the court.

“I was definitely itching to get out there,” said Brown, who shot 6-of-13 from the field, 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and 4-of-4 from the free-throw line. “I don’t want to miss any more games than I have to. I definitely want to be out there, going to war with my teammates. But at the same time, I’m just making sure I’m not putting myself at risk down the line here. I’m trusting the medical staff. They were the ones really pushing for me to come back Monday. I thought I would be able to come back a little bit earlier. But it was the right call, especially with the history of it (having experienced hamstring strains in the past). Going forward you want to make sure you have everything on track, so you don’t have any more issues.”

Even though it’s a lingering type of injury, Brown is confident that he’s on the right track toward a full recovery. It sure looked that way Monday night, as he helped to lead Boston to its eighth win in its last 11 outings.

“I think that in the next coming days, I'll get back to feeling 100 percent and we'll get back to adding some wins,” Brown said. “This group has played extremely well while I've been out. I've seen a lot of steps forward from a lot of guys that makes me excited about our potential. I just want to continue to add value, play off those guys, and keep winning games.”