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On Sunday afternoon, the New England Patriots put up a whopping 50 points against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 40-point win at Gillette Stadium.
A couple of hours later at nearby TD Garden, it was Jaylen Brown’s turn to do the same, as the Boston Celtics wing dropped a 50-piece on the Orlando Magic in a 116-111, come-from-behind win.
Brown became the seventh player in franchise history to reach the half-century mark, shooting 19-of-29 from the field, 5-of-10 from 3-point range, and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Nearly half of his scoring – 24 points – was produced during the fourth quarter and overtime, as he guided the Celtics back from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to a five-point win, completing a nightmarish day for Floridian sports teams visiting the state of Massachusetts.
“Faith, consistency, hard work pays off,” Brown said after the game, reciting his life motto. “My teammates found me tonight and I knocked some shots down.”
The Celtics were trailing 96-82 with 4:20 remaining in the fourth quarter before closing out the frame on an 18-4 run.
Brown, who had 33 points at the start of the run, supplied nearly all of the scoring from that point forward. He scored 14 points during the last 4:07 of the fourth, including three layups during the final 100 seconds to help push the game into overtime.
The sixth-year vet was in such a zone that he didn’t even know he was approaching 50 until his final bucket of regulation went down.
“To be honest I didn’t even realize until the last shot when I had 47,” Brown said. “Other than that, I was just being aggressive, getting to the basket. I didn’t feel like those guys could stay in front of me, so I was just going to keep getting to the basket, blowing by them on the first step, and I looked up and I had 47 and I was like, ‘Damn.’
The 47 points marked a new career-high, surpassing his previous mark of 46 which he set on Opening Night against the New York Knicks.
But he wasn’t done yet.
With 1:29 left in overtime, Brown knocked down a monumental 3-pointer from the top of the arc which gave him 50 for the night and, more importantly, gave the Celtics a 108-104 lead. He then capped off the performance with a remarkable, behind-the-back pass in transition to Josh Richardson, who laid the ball in to give Boston a six-point advantage.
Brown joined Larry Bird (4X), Sam Jones, Kevin McHale, Paul Pierce, Jayson Tatum (2X), and Isaiah Thomas on the exclusive list of Celtics players who have scored 50 points in a regular-season game.
To go along with his scoring, Brown also grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out four assists, blocked two shots, and snagged one steal during 46 minutes of action. He became just the fourth Celtic in history to record a 50-point, 10-rebound game along with Bird (twice), McHale, and Tatum, who recently accomplished the feat on April 9, 2021, against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Since Tatum has been sidelined the last four games after entering the league’s Health and Safety Protocols, there has been more pressure on Brown to help carry the offense.
As a result, defenses have been loading up on Brown, making it tough on him to score; however, he had what he called “a really good film session” with Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla ahead of Sunday night’s game, which he believes helped him to go off against Orlando.
Brown elaborated on the film session, saying he and Mazzulla were “just watching how teams are guarding, watching where the help is coming from and what I need to be looking at. As I continue to move forward, I got a lot more to learn, but I definitely felt better going into this game and trying to continue to build off that, making the right plays and keeping it simple.”
Though, it wasn’t the first time that Brown has erupted in the scoring column of late. He’s now scored at least 30 points in four of his last seven games. And since returning from a hamstring strain on Dec. 13, he has led the entire Eastern Conference in scoring with 281 points. Joel Embiid is a very distant second to Brown with 219 points during that same span.
“The growth with JB is very real. I think we’ve all witnessed it,” said Marcus Smart, who has been Brown’s teammate since the beginning of Brown’s NBA career. “He’s going to continue to get better, and the growth is going to continue to grow, and for this team, we need that.”
Brown proved Smart’s point Sunday night, as he joined an elite group of Celtics Legends while putting the team on his back and carrying them to a late, come-from-behind win.