Sunday, October 29, 2023

Jaylen Brown on his performance against Miami: 'I was just being aggressive'

The Celtics in their second game of the 2023-24 campaign and home opener were able to beat the Miami Heat 119-111 Friday night at TD Garden.

It was the first meeting between these two teams since last season's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals and it didn't disappoint, especially for Jaylen Brown -- who had a bounce back performance after a rough outing against the New York Knicks opening night.

The All-Star made a statement with 27 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including 3-of-7 from behind the arc to go along with six rebounds, an assist and two steals. It was Brown and Derrick White, who dropped a team-high 28 points, that were able to put the Heat away in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.

In the final frame alone Brown notched 12 points on 5-of-7 from the field, while also hitting a dagger 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds left to hold off Miami for good. White also scored 14 points in the period to help pick up the much needed victory over their conference rivals.
"I was just being aggressive," Brown said in his postgame presser, "That was it. Felt like I had some good looks that didn't go down, but stayed with it and I was able to come out and make some shots down the line. Just being aggressive, kind of finding your flow, but just being aggressive every time you touch the ball."
Despite his four turnovers, Brown remained poised against the Heat all night, something that couldn't necessarily be said back in May when Jayson Tatum's ankle injury forced Brown to pick up the slack offensively in a deciding Game 7 that ended in a disaster to say the least. Though Brown took the blame for the loss, it ultimately raised come concerns if he should be given a super-max extension. 

However, on Friday, Brown reminded Celtics fans and his naysayers that he is worth the $304 million contract he signed over the summer while also proving he's committed to playing on both sides of the ball in order to reach the goal of winning championship.
"The best thing I've seen from him is his consistency defensively. Regardless of how he's doing on the floor, he's competing with toughness," head coach Joe Mazzulla said to reporters of Brown's efforts. "Tonight, he showed who he is."
With all the changes this offseason, it's up to Brown and Tatum to set the tone when it comes to a winning basketball culture. After two clutch wins, it's clear that the expectations remain high for a roster as talented as Boston is. It's going to take everyone to be on same page to finally get over the hump and raise that elusive banner 18 to the Garden rafters.
"Not every night will be as perfect as everyone wants it to be," Brown said. "But I'm looking forward to the grind, the blood, the sweat and the tears. Let's figure out how to get better."
The Celtics will look to continue the grind when they head out on the road to face the Washington Wizards Monday night. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of USA Today

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