Celtics

Jaylen Brown to play in NBA Africa Game Aug. 5 in Johannesburg

Jaylen Brown to play in NBA Africa Game Aug. 5 in Johannesburg

Jaylen Brown of the Celtics will be part of an NBA contingent traveling to Africa to play in the league’s second game on the continent, an exhibition contest on Aug. 5 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

NBA Africa Game 2017 was announced Thursday by the league and its players' association. 

Brown, about to enter his second season with the Celtics, will play for Team World, captained by Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, against Team Africa, captained by Luol Deng (Los Angeles Lakers; South Sudan) and Thabo Sefolosha (most recently with the Atlanta Hawks; Switzerland; South African parent).

The game will benefit UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa (SOSCVSA). The NBA’s first Africa Game was in 2015 and Celtics coach Brad Stevens was part of the league’s contingent there. 

Brown, Nowitzki and Walker will be joined on Team World by Leandro Barbosa (most recently with the Phoenix Suns; Brazil), Wilson Chandler (Nuggets; US), DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans; US), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons; US), Courtney Lee (New York Knicks; US), Kyle Lowry (Raptors; US), CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers; US) and Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks; Latvia).

Joining Deng and Sefolosha on Team Africa will be Bismack Biyombo (Orlando Magic; Democratic Republic of Congo), Clint Capela (Houston Rockets; Switzerland; parents from Angola and Congo), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon), Serge Ibaka (Toronto Raptors; Congo), Luc Mbah a Moute (most recently with the LA Clippers; Cameroon), Salah Mejri (Dallas Mavericks; Tunisia), Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets; DRC), Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers; US.; Nigerian parent) and Dennis Schroder (Atlanta Hawks; Germany; Gambian parent).

Blakely's takeaways: C's put entire league on notice

Blakely's takeaways: C's put entire league on notice

BOSTON – You had to figure Golden State’s explosive offense would probably come up a little short scoring-wise against the Boston Celtics and their top-rated defense. 

But for them to score 88 points – that’s about 32 below their average – was very one of those, “where the hell did that come from?” moments. 

And it was exactly what the Celtics needed to escape with a 92-88 win that extended their winning streak to 14 in a row but maybe most important, put the entire league on notice that this streak they’re on right now … it’s real. 

“They wrote us off coming in, saying Golden State was gonna beat us, and do this and do that,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “We came out and played basketball. Even though we got down, the make-up of our team is staying in; we’re resilient.”

Here are five takeaways from Boston’s signature win of the season, 92-88 over Golden State which extended Boston’s winning streak to 14 straight. 

 

BROWN’S GROWTH

Jaylen Brown was playing with a heavy heart less than 24 hours after the death of his best friend. But as we’ve seen in this still-young season, Brown is very much one of the league’s emerging talents. He certainly played that role on Thursday in leading Boston with 22 points with seven rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.  

 

TALE OF TWO HALVES FOR TATUM

There’s something about the second half of games against elite players that brings out the best in Jayson Tatum. When Boston opened the season at Cleveland, Tatum was noticeably better in the second half than the first. And in Thursday’s win over Golden State, it was more of the same. In the first half he had just two points only to finish with a 10-point second half (7 coming in the fourth) for a 12-point game on 2-for-5 shooting. 

 

AL HORFORD

As well as he’s played, a strong case can be made for Horford being a league MVP instead of their leading scorer, Kyrie Irving. Horford tallied a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds to go with a pair of assists. Horford now has six double-doubles this season which equals his double-double total from all of last season. 

 

MARCUS SMART

As much as you know Smart makes great effort plays consistently and does indeed make a difference when he’s on the court, his shooting woes are reaching critical mass even as Boston continues to gobble up wins. In the last five games, Smart has averaged 7.6 points. That’s not too bad, right? But then you look and see that he’s shooting 19.2 percent (10-for-52) in that span. Ouch! So far, the Celtics have been able to find success despite his shooting struggles. But you have to anticipate at some point it’ll catch up with them. 

 

SHORTENED ROTATION

For most of this season, pretty much everyone who suits up for the Celtics, have played. But against the Warriors, it had the feel of a playoff-like rotation with head coach Brad Stevens playing 10 guys with nine reaching double digits in minutes played. Considering how the second unit struggled to make shots (they missed 17 of their 19 shot attempts), it’s understandable why head coach Brad Stevens leaned a little heavier than usual on his second unit.