What Joe Mazzulla Told Jaylen Brown After Costly Missed Free Throws

Mazzulla had a simple message for Brown


January 26

Celtics star guard Jaylen Brown isn’t in an enviable position following Boston’s 120-117 overtime loss to the New York Knicks at TD Garden on Thursday night.

Brown shrunk in the spotlight during the most critical juncture of the game, front-rimming not one, but two free throws with 7.6 seconds left that could have put the Celtics in front but ultimately delivered them a stinging defeat.

It would be completely normal for Brown to be dejected after not coming through in that moment, which is why Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla had a simple message for Brown to try to lift his spirits up.

“I love you, Jaylen and I believe in you,” Mazzulla told reporters as seen on NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage.

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The two misses at the free-throw line punctuated a slightly uncharacteristic performance from Brown. He netted 22 points but shot an inefficient 8-for-22 from the floor, including a putrid 1-for-8 showing from beyond the arc. Brown also contributed nine rebounds and two assists.

The Celtics called Brown’s number on two massive possessions down the stretch of the extra frame, one of which ended with the choke job at the charity stripe.

But when Boston came out of a timeout with 28 seconds left and trailing by a single point, the Celtics in-bounded the ball to Brown in the corner. He decisively drove baseline and finished strong at the hoop to put the Celtics ahead with 24.1 ticks remaining. It was arguably Brown’s best play of the night.

“We tried to go really fast to get the two-for-one, go quick,” Mazzulla said. “They probably thought we were going to Tatum and so he did a great job creating separation in that corner drive for a layup.”

Unfortunately for Brown, those two points faded well into the background after his two massive missed free throws helped send the Celtics to their third straight loss.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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