BOSTON — Celtics star Jaylen Brown played with a mean streak in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers.

Brown set the tone for the Celtics and led the way to a 126-110 win at TD Garden by matching his playoff career high with 40 points on 14-for-27 shooting.

The stellar performance came on the heels of Brown being left off all three All-NBA teams. That had to provide Brown with an extra source of motivation, right?

“No, I wouldn’t say that,” Brown said after Game 2.

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Brown did emphatically explain why he wasn’t focused on the individual honor.

“I mean, we’re two games from the Finals, so honestly I don’t got the time to give a (expletive),” Brown said.

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Brown tried to make it seem like he wasn’t bothered by it all, but his demeanor said something else entirely. Brown’s teammates voiced support for him throughout the day and believed the Celtics star was snubbed by being left off the All-NBA teams.

“We all felt like internally that he should have made one of the All-NBA teams,” Jayson Tatum said. “So, it was a shame to see that he didn’t.”

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Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla feels Brown handled the rejection in the right way, though. Mazzulla believes Brown did get fuel from it, but that it didn’t detract him from the larger goal at stake for the Celtics.

“I think he cares about it in a way that motivates him and I think he doesn’t care about it all because he understands that winning is the most important thing,” Mazzulla said. “He has an innate ability to just get better, to work hard. He has unreal confidence.

“But he’s also not afraid to work on things he knows he has to get better at. So, you see him everyday at shootaround or in practice, he’s out there with six, seven coaches working on every possession, every spacing imaginable so he sees his reads. He just cares about the right stuff.”

Brown, who was named to the All-NBA Second Team last year for the first time in his career, was just 20 voting points shy of claiming the final spot on the All-NBA Third Team, which went to Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker.

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Brown’s statistics took a dip in the regular season as Boston’s most talented players took a step back for greater team success. Brown averaged 23 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 70 games.

He felt like he played some of his best basketball of his career this season, and that’s carried over into the playoffs with Brown being the catalyst for the Celtics so far in the Eastern Conference finals.

Brown’s true feelings revealed themselves fully before he left the podium as he sees other players get the adulation that he believes he deserves more.

“I watch guys get praised and anointed I feel like are half as talented as me on either side of the ball,” Brown said. “But at this point in my life, I just embrace it. It comes from being who I am and what I stand for, and I ain’t really changing that. So, I just come out, I’m grateful to step out on the floor each and every night, put my best foot forward, get better every single year and whether people appreciate it or not, it is what it is.”

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Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images