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Celtics 2021 Brown Makes History With 39;Unreal39; Performance in LA

Celtics 2021 Brown Makes History With 39;Unreal39; Performance in LA

Celtics Celtics in LA With Brown History 'Unreal' Performance Makes

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 07:00:00 -0700

Brad Stevens had one word to describe Jaylen Brown's performance against the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night: “Unreal

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” So unreal that it made Boston 

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Brad Stevens had one word to describe Jaylen Brown’s performance against the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night:

“Unreal.”

So unreal that it made Boston Celtics history.

Brown erupted for 40 points while shooting a staggering 17-of-20 from the field, as he led the Celtics to a 121-113 victory at STAPLES Center.

In doing so, he became the first player in franchise history to log a 40-point game while shooting at least 85 percent from the field.

The All-Star wing led the Celtics out of the gate on a 14-2 run in the first four minutes, scoring all but four of those points himself.

As an NBA history buff, it was exactly the type of energy and performance he had hoped to provide for the Celtics in the latest chapter of the greatest rivalry in all of basketball.

“I just wanted to come and be aggressive,” he said after guiding Boston to its fifth straight win.

“Celtics-Lakers matchup is a matchup that kids dream about.”

This dream lasted for several hours, as Brown became the Lakers’ worst nightmare.

He remained consistent throughout the contest, logging 10 points in the first quarter, 11 in the second, 10 in the third, and nine in the fourth.

Brown was nearly perfect from 2-point range, as he shot 14-of-15 from inside the 3-point arc.

His lone miss came on a pull-up jumper 87 seconds after tip-off, after which he shot 13-of-13 from inside the arc.

JB was efficient from beyond the arc as well, as he knocked down 3-of-5 from long range.

However, it’s worth noting that one of those misses came on a full-court heave to beat the third-quarter buzzer.

On top of all that, he also converted all three of his free-throw attempts on the night.

“He just stayed hot,” said Stevens.

“I think that he’s done a good job.

Tonight, he was really dialed in scoring the ball.

You’re not going to always shoot as well as he did tonight.

Obviously, that’s like once-a-season type numbers, usually.

But he’s had a great year and he continues to get better, and tonight was the night that he got going and we tried to ride that as much as possible.”

The greatest indicator of Brown’s impact was his plus/minus rating.

With him on the court, the Celtics outscored L.A.

by 36 points.

But during his 14 minutes on the bench, the Lakers held a 28-point advantage.

His +36 rating was more than double that of any other Celtics player; Luke Kornet was a distant second at +17.

Brown not only played a key role with the starters, but also with the second unit.

The combination of him, Kornet, Romeo Langford, Payton Pritchard, and Grant Williams dominated the Lakers late in the third quarter through the early part of the fourth, as they turned a 10-point lead into a 27-point advantage.

In the process, the other starters were able to sit back and relax a bit before being brought back in during the last couple of minutes to seal the win.

“I thought [Jaylen] with the second unit separated the game,” said Stevens.

“It allowed us to get some rest for those other guys.

He was great tonight, and I can’t say enough good things.”

Not many words were needed to describe Brown’s performance, as he let his play do most of the talking.

The only thing that needed to be said about his historic effort was that it was simply unreal.

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Celtics Celtics

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 07:00:00 -0700

After beating the Washington Wizards to improve to 7-3, Boston was hit with a slew of health and safety protocol absences, which forced the postponement of its 

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum rects as the buzzer sounds and the Celtics defeat the Portland

[+] Trail Blazers in an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

The Celtics won 116-115.

(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

The Celtics were 8-3 in their first 11 games this season.

It was a promising start to what was set to be an unconventional campaign, but things quickly went south.

After beating the Washington Wizards to improve to 7-3, Boston was hit with a slew of health and safety protocol absences, which forced the postponement of its next three games.

The following two-and-a-half months were anything but smooth.

Boston’s rocky stretch left questions about this team’s resolve, effort and overall on-court engagement.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was as low on this group as anyone.

The trade deadline saw the Celtics ship off their starting center, Daniel Theis, in a move done solely to get them below the luxury tax.

On the bright side of things, they brought in Evan Fournier, who provided a sure-fire boost to Boston’s offensive ceiling.

But with the underwhelming on-court performance and limited salary cap flexibility over the next few years, it was difficult to be positive.

The latter concern certainly still looms, however in the short-term, the Celtics seem to have righted the on-court ship.

Winners of seven of its last eight games, Boston is playing with what feels like new life.

Their energy is almost incomparable to where it was roughly one month ago, while the increased engagement on the defensive end has significantly raised this team’s floor.

On offense, Boston is moving the ball — something it did not do for long, stagnant stretches of this season — which has noticeably helped the top of the roster find some rhythm on that end of the floor.

With about four weeks left in the season, the Celtics are hitting their stride at just the right time.

Boston has a relatively favorable chance to carve out some space as the Eastern Conference’s No.

4 seed over the next few weeks.

The Celtics moved into a tie with the Atlanta Hawks for that No.

4 spot with their win over the Lakers on Thursday night.

The Charlotte Hornets, once a threat in the middle of the conference, have lost three straight after a series of injuries decimated any offensive firepower they once had.

As they continue to inevitably slide, it appears the three most likely suitors for the No.

4 and 5 seeds are the Celtics, Hawks and Miami Heat.

The rest of the Celtics’ schedule should put them in a good position as they push toward the postseason.

Just six of their remaining 16 games come against teams with records above .500.

No, that doesn’t mean they’ll make a run at a top-three seed, but that’s not the point.

The takeaway here is that this team bounced back and now has a shot to sit in a much better postseason position than it once seemed.

They’ve responded — something that felt like an impossibility at various points this season.

The signs of life we’re seeing from Boston are a positive in a year where it looked like a play-in team for extended stretches of games.

The aforementioned resolve should serve as a win in itself.

With all of that in mind, however, the Celtics remain on the outside looking in at the Eastern Conference’s elite teams.

The Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers are in a league of their own right now, and that likely won’t change this season.

This isn’t to completely damper the Celtics’ recent turnaround, but it should temper expectations a bit.

As much as I was probably too low on this team two months ago, we shouldn’t get too high as they trend in the opposite direction, especially when you take a big-picture look at things.

This team does have room for further improvement, as Fournier will ideally return at some point in the next week.

Romeo Langford continues to find his rhythm and should serve as a valuable rotation piece with his defensive versatility, especially when you consider Boston’s lack of wing depth before his return and the addition of Fournier.

Despite the positive swing, their margin of error remains small.

A return of the injury bug could quickly throw this team off the rails.

It’s an unfortunate thought, but one that is relevant amid this injury-plagued season.

Again, if all goes well, this team still isn’t on the same level as the Nets, Bucks and 76ers.

Yes, the Celtics have held the postseason advantage against Philadelphia in the past, and that psychological element undoubtedly is relevant.

But the 76ers’ defense has been extremely impressive this season, and with a healthy lineup, they should be able to take a potential seven-game series against Boston.

Can the Celtics make some noise? Of course they can.

Jayson Tatum is playing at an All-NBA level right now and Jaylen Brown has looked great over his last five games.

With those two playing well, the Celtics will be a tough out for any opponent, and that gets amplified when Kemba Walker is on his game.

So yes, the Celtics’ ceiling may be capped, but with increased health, among other things, there appear to be plenty more bright spots than we may have assumed.

I was wrong about this team, and it feels good to be incorrect because this version of the Celtics is significantly more fun to follow.

Time will tell what this rejuvenated group does with its limited time.

Chris Grenham covers the Boston Celtics with a slant toward NBA Draft matters.

He has covered the Celtics, NBA and college basketball since 2015, previously writing for

Chris Grenham covers the Boston Celtics with a slant toward NBA Draft matters.

He has covered the Celtics, NBA and college basketball since 2015, previously writing for NESN, SB Nation and CLNS Media. 

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– April 16, 2021