Thursday, April 8, 2021

Why Jaylen Brown says home win over Knicks is what Celtics 'needed as a team'

Jaylen Brown was not pleased with the Celtics' loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, which led to a rebound performance against another division rival in the New York Knicks Wednesday.

Playing on a second night of a back-to-back at TD Garden as part of a seven-game homestand, the Celtics put aside being swept in a season series with Philly for the first time since the 2000-01 campaign and focused on the Knicks, who they were tied with in the East standings for the seventh seed prior to tip-off.

Despite trailing in the fourth quarter, Boston fought back to get a much needed win over the Knicks; their third in the last four outings and get back to .500 at 26-26 on the year.

"Yesterday was a tough one for us. That wasn't our best showing," Brown said after the Celtics' 101-99 victory over the Knicks. "So, I talked to JT (Jayson Tatum) before the game and we almost had to just forget about everything. And I just said, 'Let's just come out and play basketball. Be aggressive. Be our best version of ourselves.' 
"There's so much outside noise, so many things shifting around, I just needed to come out and be Jaylen. Our team played great together tonight," Brown added.
Brown was very much aggressive, nearly doubling his scoring output from Tuesday (17 points) to net 32 points (game-high) on 12-of-26 shooting and 5-of-13 from deep to go along with 10 rebounds, three assists -- the most in eight games -- and two steals. 

The Celtics' All-Star not only recorded his second double-double in the last seven tilts, Brown was also very open about his conversation with Tatum as well.
"Yeah, I initiated it. Soon as we came in my energy was upbeat," Brown explained. "I had a conversation with him like, 'We know yesterday was not our best showing, but like, let's just play basketball. I got you you, you got me. Let's run, let's be us and have a great game.'

"I think that's kind of what got things going for us. (Marcus) Smart led the way with his energy, as well," Brown continued. "… Everybody stepped up and made big plays in big moments… That's what we needed as a team."

Tatum in his postgame presser added: "We just talked about trying to get back on track, trying to get back in the win column, forget about last game. … I mean we're both two driven individuals that kind of both know, when we're down, what we need to do to get ourselves back going. It was real brief just saying 'Let's just forget about last game, forget about, I guess, what everybody is saying. Let's just get a win.' That's all we can control."
It's not the first time this season that it has been revealed about Celtics players airing out their concerns, it was only about three weeks ago when Marcus Smart spoke about a locker room meeting that took place following a disappointing loss to the Kings at home.

Still, Brown believes talks with his teammates should happen more often, especially with 20 games remaining on the regular season schedule.
"We probably should have had those conversations more," Brown said. "Sometimes the way things are going and how much pressure we get from you guys, in the media, kind of makes us less open to talk or more upset about things that aren't that big of a deal. In hindsight, things could be worse. I think we still have a chance to make a run. We still have a chance to do everything we said we wanted to do. So, sometimes one game just tends to carry over. Today, we didn't let that happen."
The Celtics wrap-up their homestand on Friday night when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves, who currently have the league's worst record at 13-39. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Boston Globe

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