BOSTON — Jaylen Brown’s last two season-closing performances have been disastrous for the Celtics.
There simply is no other way of putting it.
You could be tricked by looking at the box scores, as Brown scored 34 points in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals and finished with 19 points, eight boards, two blocks and one steal in Game 7 on Monday night. He was bad in both of those games, however, finishing with five and eight turnovers, respectively. Though he finds ways to have a positive impact, the 26-year-old’s inability to carry the offense without fumbling the ball all over the court has become extremely concerning for Celtics fans.
In fact, it has become concerning for the man himself.
“We failed. I failed. We let the whole city down,” Brown said. “… Just a terrible game. When my team needed me most, like (Jayson Tatum) hurt his ankle, first play of the game, and you could see it like swelling up on him. He couldn’t move out there. It was tough for him. My team turned to me to make plays and I came up short, I failed. It’s tough. I give credit to Miami, but just a terrible job.
“… Tough luck with JT going down. We tried to compensate and it just didn’t work the way we thought it would. A lot of that is on me. So I just got to take it on the chin and it is what it is.”
Brown’s struggles on offense really shone through with Tatum nursing the ankle injury. Though he tried to gut it out, the four-time All-Star was compromised on both sides of the ball and was unable to get the Celtics those tough buckets he’s so accustomed to getting. In Brown’s attempt at being that guy, Boston’s deficit just went from bad to worse.
The All-NBA player looked like a middling starter at points, going 1-for-9 from beyond the arc, committing five fouls and finishing as a minus-17 in a team-high 43 minutes — the second worst mark on the Celtics.
“You take it on the chin,” Brown continued. “You learn from it. As hard as this one is right now to swallow, you get better. It’s a tough one. Tough one. Tough one for me. Tough one for our team. Tough one for our organization. Extremely bad timing. You just, you learn. That’s a part of the journey. This is not the end. We got a lot better to get, a lot of better basketball to play and you just got to look at it like that. But tough night.”
In another night where Boston fell short of capturing Banner 18, the Celtics where left with plenty more questions than answers. The majority of those questions can be traced back to their superstars and a lack of consistency in big moments over the past two seasons, a concerning trend for certain.