Al Horford and the rest of the Boston Celtics routinely saw Jaylen Brown aggressively work his way to the basket Wednesday night.
Horford sure didn’t envy any New Orleans Pelicans defenders that tried to get in Brown’s way.
“When he drives, I feel like people feel it,” Horford told reporters as seen on NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage. “When he’s hitting you and he’s driving, that’s real. It’s good to see him play at that level and have his mind made up that he’s going to attack the paint more.”
In Boston’s 125-114 win over New Orleans at TD Garden, Brown overpowered the Pelicans en route to one of his best performances this season. Brown netted a season-high 41 points while shooting an ultra efficient 15-for-21 from the field to go along with 12 rebounds.
Brown’s attack mindset was evident early and it only grew stronger as the game went on. It was a striking contrast to the sixth-year pro’s showing Monday against the Chicago Bulls when he went 0-for-8 from beyond the arc.
Brown consistently got into the lane and finished through defenders while mixing in a 3-pointer here and there to watch his point total balloon. On one occasion, Brown showcased his strength by spinning through Trey Murphy III and Larry Nance Jr. before converting his floater in the paint while getting fouled by Murphy.
Then during his 18-point third quarter, Brown bullied rookie Dyson Daniels on a baseline drive and finished over him while once again getting fouled.
“I definitely feel stronger this year,” Brown told reporters, per the Celtics.com’s Taylor Snow. “My body is in better shape. I probably put on some pounds of muscle in the summer, so I’ve been trying to use it as best as I can.”
Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla certainly liked what Brown provided to improve Boston’s record to 30-12. Mazzulla saw one of his team’s star players shed any hesitation and make all the necessary reads to exploit an opposing defense.
“Just took what the defense gave him, led the defense, made the right play, got into a great rhythm and was good to see him get into that rhythm for our team,” Mazzulla said as seen on NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage.
The aggressiveness Brown displayed wasn’t just beneficial to his game as Horford pointed out. Brown getting to the hoop, which certainly gets Horford’s seal of approval, can only further enhance a Celtics squad that already leads the NBA in offensive rating.
“It puts a lot of pressure on the defense and I feel like it continues to open our offense,” Horford said. “Eventually they have to make a decision and if they close out to him, then I feel like all of us are spaced will benefit from that. Jaylen going to the basket I like. A guy, that’s being aggressive, looking to finish at the rim. That’s definitely what I expect and what we need from him.”