The Celtics have been in sore need of a vocal presence during the team’s up-and-down start to the campaign, and it sounds like All-Star guard Jaylen Brown finally has taken on that role during Boston’s recent stretch.
“Yeah, I think Jaylen and Jayson (Tatum) set the tone, and especially Jaylen before we broke the huddle. He talked to us about making sure that we come out ready to go, we come out firing and we’re just not kind of going through the motions,” Celtics forward Al Horford said in his postseason video conference. “We were able to jump them right away and kind of set the tone for the rest of the game. So the fact that, you know, us developing those habits consistently, coming out that way, it makes a big difference.”
Horford continued to praise Brown’s vocal impact.
“I feel like right now in our locker room Jaylen is the one that’s really setting the tone with that,” Horford added. “He’s really keeping everybody focused telling us, you know, we need to be focused, we need to lock in, we need to prepare for these games, take care of the game-by-game type thing. And I believe that there’s a real sense of urgency from our group with that.”
Marcus Smart agreed with Horford’s assessment. Smart, who long has been the team’s emotional leader on the court, noted how Brown has taken the added responsibility as the Celtics hoped he would.
Smart even shared Brown’s message.
“Just stay with it, stay connected, stay positive and stay really, really focused,” Smart said after the game. “When we’re going through walkthrough, you know, he’s actually talking more. That’s what we’ve been asking for him, to get out of his comfort zone on that end and he’s been doing a really good job. So, saying all the right things. He’s in the film room, watching the film and, you know, making the right reads and calls and letting us know. So that’s the progression that is something you have to continue to progress with. And he’s doing a great job.”
The Celtics now have won four of their last five games and, given their return to health, are playing some of their best basketball on the season. If that does directly correlate with Brown’s presence as a vocal leader, it’s something both he and the group will need to continue.