Friday, October 27, 2023

Jaylen Brown on lack of shots in season opener: 'Finding a way to win, that's all that matters to me'

The Celtics opened their much anticipated 2023-24 regular season with a 108-104 victory over the New York Knicks Wednesday night.

While it wasn't the prettiest of wins, the Celtics fought back in the final minutes in front of a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd -- who at one point chanted obscenities to former Knickerbocker Kristaps Porzingis. 

Despite a 34-point performance from Jayson Tatum and a 30-point historic debut from Porzingis (both combined for 21-of-37 from the field, including 8-of-17 from behind the arc), it was Jaylen Brown that seemed to struggle during the opener.

The All-Star wing, fresh off a $300 million super-max extension this summer, shot 4-of-11 from the floor and missed all four attempts from 3-point territory, while not putting up a single shot in the fourth quarter against the Knicks.

When asked about not having attempted a field goal in the fourth quarter of the Celtics season opener, Brown didn't seemed bothered by the question in the least bit, adding that's all a part of the sacrifice mantra that the team has adopted this year.
"It's all going to depend on the game, the game is going to be able to tell you what to do," Brown said in his post-practice presser Friday afternoon. "At times it's going to call for me to be more aggressive, at times JT (Tatum) and KP (Porzingis) had it going last game -- so we played through them. But just being ultimately ready as a basketball player out there and have an impact on the game. I know you're judged on what numbers you produce, but with this type of group the nights are going to vary, you got to be ready for that and I'm excited for the journey."
Still, Brown was a plus-8, while being in foul trouble (picking up his fifth in the final frame) and only scored 11 points. However, was able to contribute in other aspects of the game with six rebounds, five assists (two turnovers) and a steal to help get the win.

The Celtics next challenge will be the Miami Heat, who they'll host tonight at the TD Garden for the first time since a blowout Game 7 loss in the Conference Finals to the now reigning East champs this past spring -- which remains fresh on Brown and his teammates' minds. Boston rallied from a 0-3 series deficit only to fall short of a comeback and a return trip to the NBA Finals in the final decisive tilt at home. 

Brown, who took the blame for the loss back in May, was asked if his poor play the last time these two teams met had any barring on his offseason preparations.
"Any time you come up short of your ultimate goal, you're going to have motivation," Brown said. "I didn't have a great game, we didn't have a great game as a team either. I think that's giving everybody that motivation to come back this year to be better, everyone in the organization to be better and here we are now."
So what will be the mindset going into the Celtics home-opener against a foe that has knocked them out of the postseason two of the last four years? 
"[Miami] is a team we're super familiar with and have played them a bunch of times in the playoffs, a team we got history with," Brown told reporters earlier today. "Tonight we come out; the start of a new season looking to kind of set the tone early."
Boston will look to win two in a row when the Heat come into town Friday night, as ESPN has the tip-off at 7:30 pm ET. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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