Jaylen Brown on Kawhi Leonard: 'He’s definitely somebody I look up to'

Jaylen Brown on Kawhi Leonard: 'He’s definitely somebody I look up to'

Before most games you’ll find Jaylen Brown huddled up with an assistant coach watching video of himself. He’ll see the great moves he makes to the basket, or his hustle being rewarded with a loose ball for the Celtics. 

But he’s more consumed by the images of a blown defensive assignment or the rebound he didn’t grab because he was out of position. 

Those latter points are what drives him to continue working towards improving his overall game in this still-young stage of his NBA journey. 

And that work has paid off of late for the 20-year-old rookie whose play has earned him more minutes of late. 

One of the domino effects of Isaiah Thomas being out with a right groin injury, has been an increase in the minutes for Brown. 

“Minutes opened up and I think I’m getting better,” Brown told CSN's Abby Chin on Wednesday. “When opportunity meets hard work, that’s when success happens. So I’ve been trying to keep working, waiting for my opportunity and seizing them.”

He hopes to continue along those lines tonight when the Celtics face the San Antonio Spurs who will be a bit short-handed with LaMarcus Aldridge (rest) not playing. 

The No. 3 pick in last June’s NBA draft, Brown showed promise as a scorer from the outset. 

But lately, Brown’s ability to pick up and execute what the Celtics are looking for defensively has been a huge factor in the coaching staff feeling more confident in leaving him on the floor for extended minutes. 

Brown believes he has made significant strides as a defender from the start of the season until now. 

“It takes experience to see things a few times, to kind of get it,” Brown said. “It’s a different game than college. It’s a constant adjustment. At times earlier I could see myself allowing people to get easy baskets because my body position wasn’t where it needs to be or my technique wasn’t the right way. Once you see it a few times you improve and learn from your mistakes. I made some mistakes earlier that I’m not making now. I just want to keep improving.”

And he has, especially the last five games. 

In that span, he has averaged 21.2 minutes per game in which he has averaged 8.2 points while shooting 59.3 percent from the field and 57.1 percent on 3s. 

No one anticipates he’ll maintain those numbers for the rest of the season, but even if he’s within 10 percentage points in each of those categories, which is possible, he would end his rookie season with numbers similar to San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard who is a player Brown has said on more than one occasion, that he looks up to. 

As a rookie with the Spurs, Leonard averaged 7.9 points while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 37.6 percent on 3’s while playing 24 minutes per game.

“His game, how he carries himself; doesn’t really say anything,” Brown said of Leonard. “He just plays basketball; keeps his head down … it’s something to admire. I like the way he plays, both sides of the ball; he competes. He’s definitely somebody I look up to.”

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

When is a setback not a setback?

When Danny Ainge says, "You know what? Sometimes I talk too much," Ainge told the Boston Herald over the weekend. "'Setback' wasn't the right word, so let me rephrase that because it's not exactly true to say it - or say it that way.

The Celtics president of basketball operations, in his weekly radio interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub and simulcast on NBC Sports Boston, used that word when he was describing how Gordon Hayward is coming along in his recovery. 

"He had like one setback for a couple of weeks, maybe a month and a half ago," Ainge said on the radio last week. "We were progressing a little bit too fast, we thought."

Ainge clarified that to the Herald's Steve Bulpett. 

"What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness," he said. "It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn't ready for it at that point. That's all it was."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been adamant that Hayward, recovering from his gruesome leg and ankle injury in the season opener, will not play for the Celtics this season. On Sunday, Stevens, via MassLive.com's Jay King, characterized Stevens' soreness as a "small" issue. 



Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

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Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

CLEVELAND - Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team to address health issues that have included chest pains and loss of sleep.

Lue said Monday in a statement that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is and offered no timetable for his return. The coach said he feels he needs to step away "and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation" from which to coach the rest of the season.

Here's a portion of Lue's statement:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season," Lue said. "My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the championship we are all working towards."

A stress-filled season for the Cavs has taken a toll on the Lue, 40, a former Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers who led them to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season. They are j40-29, third in the Eastern Conference, behind the second-place Celtics and East-leading Toronto Raptors, and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to return to the NBA Finals.

David Aldridge of TNT reports that the plan is for Lue to return in a week. The NBA playoffs begin April 14. 

"We all want great players, we all want the best teams, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well. And what Ty Lue has had to go through this year with that team, with the trades and the injuries and the pressure, it's unrelenting," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "So I hope that he gets healthy and is able to get back in time for the playoffs and help that team win as many games as possible."

Lue spent the second half of Cleveland's victory in Chicago on Saturday in the locker room because of an illness, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. The former NBA guard also sat one out against Chicago at home in December.

Associate head coach Larry Drew coached the second half of Saturday's game, the finale of a six-game, 11-day road trip. Cleveland is back home to host Milwaukee on Monday.

"We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues," general manager Koby Altman said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford also left his team to address his health this season. He took six weeks off. Medical tests revealed that the 56-year-old Clifford did not have any internal problems, but the doctor's diagnosis was the coach was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

© 2018 by The Associated Press