Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown isn’t accustomed to operating with much space on the offensive end since he’s one of the premier scorers in the NBA.

But Brown got all the room he wanted in Boston’s 140-88 thumping of the Golden State Warriors on Sunday at TD Garden.

The Warriors backed off Brown in the first quarter as part of a puzzling defensive strategy in which they dared the three-time All-Star to beat them from the perimeter. Brown had no issues doing that, scoring 19 of his game-high 29 points in the opening frame and hitting five of nine 3-pointers in the first 12 minutes.

“I get to the paint and I usually open it up for everyone else,” Brown told reporters, per MassLive’s Souichi Terada. “But if you want to dare me to shoot, we can do that, too. I thought it was a little disrespectful. But we took advantage of it and we hit them back.”

Story continues below advertisement

Brown entered the contest as a 34.8% shooter from downtown on the season. While he was insulted by Golden State’s defensive tactic, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla was very much appreciative of it since it helped Boston’s offense explode for a franchise-record 82 points in the first half.

“We were really grateful for that,” Mazzulla told reporters, per Terada. “Teams are going to guard us in different ways, and we just have to stay open-minded to what gives us the best chance to win. There’s a game plan, but then when the game starts, the game will tell us what we need to do. I just kept saying thank you, and kept empowering Jaylen, and credit to his teammates for empowering him to just continue to play.”

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

The trust in Brown, who accounted for nearly half of Boston’s shot attempts in the first quarter, helped the Celtics put great distance between them and the Warriors before the stanza came to a close. Brown broke a 21-all deadlock and sparked a 23-1 run to end the quarter by sinking three straight 3-pointers. The lead only ballooned from there as Boston led by as many as 56 points.

Brown surely got the last laugh and was rewarded by watching the final 19:16 of the contest from the bench with Mazzulla pulling Boston’s starters early in the third quarter — Steve Kerr sat his starters even earlier as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green didn’t even take the floor for the second half.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s not personal,” Brown said. “It was a little disrespectful to me. But it is what it is. Came out and I do what I do best. My teammates empowered me. They were like, ‘We don’t care if you shoot every shot down.’ On this team, it’s about making the right plays, getting guys involved. I feel like I’ve been doing that all season long and I’ma keep doing that. But don’t get it twisted.”

Featured image via Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports Images