Last season’s Eastern Conference finals left a mark on Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown.

He struggled mightily at times in the series, especially in Game 7 when the Celtics needed him to elevate with Jayson Tatum injuring his ankle just seconds into the contest. But instead of stepping up in that moment, Brown shrunk.

Brown scored 19 points on 8-for-23 shooting as the Miami Heat celebrated on Boston’s home floor. Brown called his performance “terrible.” He turned the ball over eight times and finished the series with 25 turnovers and 24 assists.

The lackluster showing caused Brown to make sweeping changes in an effort to not let it happen again.

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“It just inspired growth,” Brown told The Athletic’s Jay King following practice Wednesday. “It just inspired me to work hard. I probably worked the hardest I’ve ever worked this summer. My body’s changed. Athletically, I feel like I’m entering my prime, at peak athleticism. I’m running, I’m jumping, I’m defending. I’m guarding my ass off. I’m in the right spots. I’m more aware on defense. I’m more aware on offense. It just inspired me. Inspiration to improve is what it was.

“That’s how bad it stung to come up short the way we did, but I wouldn’t take anything back. Everything is for a reason … a part of being a human being is just learning and growing. And that’s how I approach everything in life.”

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Despite feeling like he has made improvements in a litany of areas, Brown has seen his production dip through 19 games this season. He’s averaging four points less per game as well as slight decreases in his rebounding and assists.

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But Brown doesn’t feel the statistics tell the full story of where he’s at.

“I feel like on both sides of the ball, I’m playing the best basketball of my life,” Brown said.

Brown added: “I feel like I’m a different player. I still have the same essence. That aggressiveness is where my tone is always going to be, but I’m seeing the floor, making the right reads, trying to get others involved all at the same time.”

Featured image via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images