Jaylen Brown Taking ‘Pride’ After Leading In Celtics Blowout Win

'It's a challenge'


March 26

BOSTON — Jaylen Brown has continued to expand his potential since the Boston Celtics selected him at No. 3 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Brown has already proven to be an All-Star caliber talent — twice. He’s shown the ability to perform in the playoffs and last season in the NBA Finals. But against the San Antonio Spurs with Jayson Tatum sidelined last minute, Brown did justice by the notion that he can be a No. 1 option on a team in the league.

Tatum is already the undeclared Celtics’ go-to man. On a nightly basis, Tatum typically leads the C’s in scoring, he’ll have the ball in his hands for the big moments and he was an early MVP candidate up until the NBA All-Star break.

Yet, with Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics in a tight Eastern Conference race with seven games left until playoff time, Brown stepped up by leading the way with 41 points in a 137-93 blowout victory Sunday night at TD Garden.

“It’s great, it’s fun. It’s a challenge,” Brown said. “I get up every day and do my job. Whether they ask me to score, defend, rebound. Since I’ve been here in Boston, I’ve always taken pride in doing what I’ve been asked to do. Whatever the challenge has been, I’ve always met that challenge with excitement and a willingness to be a part of a team.

“When you get the opportunity to be the guy that everybody’s kind of leaning on, it’s a privilege, it’s a honor. So I don’t take those moments for granted. I come out each and every night, I strap my shoes up and I get my guys ready to go.”

Brown, who typically hunts shots beyond the arc on his higher-scoring games, didn’t do so against the Spurs. Shooting just 2-of-10 from 3-point territory, Brown instead used his physicality and ball-handling ability to go 16-of-19 within 2-point range, exploiting a bottom-tier San Antonio defense with ease.

“I think that overall, throughout the years, my role has changed,” Brown said. “My responsibility has been different each and every year. … As I’ve one, gotten better and improved through experience and just maturation as a basketball player and as a man. Two, I’ve cultivated the style of play that I feel like is conducive for me, but also for our team.”

Along with being the game’s leading scorer, Brown was also Boston’s primary source of rebounding, finishing the night with 13 rebounds, his highest total since March 6 (13) against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Brown also had strong support from the Celtics locker room, with his teammates appreciative of the 26-year-old’s leadership in a cakewalk victory over a team that Boston should undoubtedly bulldoze seven days a week.

“He’s the best shooting guard in the league,” Malcolm Brogdon said. “He’ll be All-NBA, he’ll make one of the teams this year. And his game really speaks for itself. When JT’s out, he’s the No. 1 option. … He’s playing at an extremely high level.”

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images
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