Thursday, May 25, 2023

Jaylen Brown on Celtics forcing Game 5 at TD Garden: 'We want to come back to Miami'

The Celtics avoided elimination with a 116-99 Game 4 win over the Miami Heat Tuesday and are going back home with a purpose to return to Miami.

While Jayson Tatum led the way with a 33-point, 11-rebound and seven-assist performance, it was the defense of Jaylen Brown and Grant Williams on Jimmy Butler in key moments throughout the night that made all the difference to pull off the victory.

Brown, who was struggling on 38% shooting from the field -- including going 2-of-20 from 3-point range -- through the first three games in this series, found other ways to contribute in Game 4 on both ends of the floor.
"I can't force it," Brown said in his postgame presser. "They're trying to make me a playmaker, so tonight, I think I did a better job just getting into the paint and kicking it out -- we got an advantage, made the next pass and were able to get some open looks pretty much all night. I gotta continue to do that and if I continue to do that, my shot will start falling and we'll be able to go on a little run."
Despite finishing with 17 points on 7-of-16 from the floor, Brown also had four rebounds, four assists and two steals -- but it was his play on the defensive end, especially in the fourth quarter, that won't necessarily show up on the box score. Down the stretch, Butler went 1-of-5 from the field with Brown being the primarily defender, while scoring six points on the other end to limit the Heat from making a comeback.
"[Marcus] Smart was in my ear, letting me know where the game was at. 'Just keep being aggressive. Keep making the right play. It ain't always gotta be me putting the ball in the basket,'" said Brown. "I helped us win tonight."
Meanwhile, Grant Williams led the bench with 14 points on 4-of-6 from behind the arc, to go along with six rebounds, two assists, a steal and one impressive block on Butler in the paint -- as the Celtics were a plus-15 when the veteran big man was on the floor.
"Grant comes in and adds to winning," Brown said. "When he plays composed and keeps his head, he can be a tremendous asset. Just gotta keep talking to him, keep letting him know where the game is at, keep telling him to make the plays, play within his role, and I think he did that tonight."
Prior to Game 4 it was reported that the Celtics had an informal team meeting and while Brown wouldn't provide much details on what was spoken about, it's clear that as one of the leaders of the roster there are uncomfortable conversations to be had to re-group and get on the same page to serve as a reminder of what the ultimate goal is.
"Just coming together, talking it out," Brown said of his teammates. "A lot of times, when you get to this point down 3-0, locker rooms and teams start to go in the other direction. We wanted to make sure that we stayed together. We wanted to make sure that we look each other in the eye. We came out today and put our best foot forward. I'm proud of our group for doing that."
In the end, Brown, along with his teammates are clearly only focused on getting back to TD Garden for another opportunity to extend their season.
"We want to come back to Miami," Brown said. "If that happens, I feel like we'll feel good about ourselves. The next one should be fun, it should be a big one, and we're going to come ready to play."
Game 5 will tip-off tonight from TD Garden at 8:30 ET on TNT

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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