Jaylen Brown: Boston Celtics guard steps out of Jayson Tatum’s shadow with NBA Finals performance | NBA News


There was a time when the narrative surrounding Jaylen Brown was that he was a redundant player on a Celtics team shaping its identity around budding superstar Jayson Tatum.

Although he was recently an All-Star on a team filled with young homegrown talent, Brown was seen by outsiders as a potential trade chip Boston could use to adjust a roster that didn’t make it past the conference finals at the during its first five seasons. .

The cries to drop the third pick in the 2016 draft have only intensified after a lukewarm 18-21 start to the season under new coach Ime Udoka who had veteran Marcus Smart calling out the Celtics’ young stars.

Six months and a run to the NBA Finals later, Mr. Expendable is suddenly Mr. Indispensable as the Celtics chase their 18th championship. The next step on the path takes place tonight at TD Garden as the Boston Celtics host the Folden State Warriors in Game 4, live on Sky Sports Arena & Main Event, from 1.45am.

“It’s hard for me to think back to the times when I was in the thick of the storm,” Brown said. “But everything, all the adversity, all the ups and downs and, the negative things, indirectly and directly, helped build me to where I am.”

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Jaylen Brown dives the ball in Game 3 of the NBA Finals after an assist from Boston Celtics teammate Marcus Smart

Brown is averaging a team-best 22.7 points and 7.3 rebounds through the first three games of the Finals. He delivered probably his best playoff performance — 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists — as Boston beat the Golden State Warriors 116-100 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead.

His 17-point first quarter set the tone for Boston’s offense, but Udoka said Brown’s play has evolved on both sides.

“The versatility he gives us on the defensive end is what it is. I think that carries over to Marcus and our bigs as well as our big wings,” Udoka said. “We’re asking (for) more communication, more recognition, and he’s one of the guys who’s improved throughout the season in that regard.”

While Brown was locked in during the playoffs, Tatum said he and Brown knew there were questions about whether they could coexist after the team got off to a slow start. He said they figured out how to merge their skills and personalities.

“I think all of those things helped, to say we have to split the squad, get rid of somebody or me and JB can’t play together,” Tatum said after Boston beat Miami to win the championship. the Eastern Conference. “It pushed us to understand and not run away. That we trusted each other and had to be better.”

Under the tutelage of Udoka and his team, both players learned to play more against their teammates.

Tatum has moved away from his past tendencies to rely on isolation and jumps. Instead, he uses the double teams he draws to mix the ball up with Brown and others to share the scoring charge.

Brown, too, transformed his game. Against Golden State in particular, he cut inside, found lags and picked his spots against the Warriors’ smaller rosters.

Smart said Brown and Tatum’s aggression became contagious.

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The Boston Celtics topped the paint in their Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors

“They’re very adamant about what they want, what they’re going to do with the ball, make decisions and do reads,” Smart said. “They grew and matured in that aspect. They knew that for us to reach our full potential, they were going to have to take that step. They rose to the challenge, and they’re showing it and it’s proven right now.”

Brown has also been a steady voice, reminding his teammates to block distractions such as Golden State’s Draymond Green’s attempts to shake up the Celtics with his physical play.

On Jan. 31, at the start of Boston’s late-season turnaround, Brown tweeted, “The energy is about to change.” Considering her recent performance, her lyrics seem less cryptic and more prophetic.

And Brown showed more appreciation for his journey to Finals stardom.

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Watch Jaylen Brown’s incredible dunk against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals!

“I feel like I haven’t always been put in the best position to be the best version of myself, and that has helped me improve and work harder,” Brown said. . “Everything I have learned and acquired here directly or indirectly has helped me, and I think it will help me move forward. If I had to think, I’m just grateful for every experience you go through because it just makes you who you are.”

Watch the NBA Finals exclusively on Sky Sports – see the list of games here and subscribe to watch the action live.


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