When know all about Jaylen Brown’s off-the-charts athleticism and the way his versatility can impact games in a multitude of ways.
But what about the closing moments of a tight, down-to-the-wire game?
How will he respond then?
His opportunities to do that during the regular season are likely to be limited, but the Celtics have to be encouraged by the way he handled himself and more important, the way he handled the Brooklyn Nets, when Thursday night’s game was up in the air.
Brown, who had 10 points and three assists, played a critical role in the Celtics rallying back in the game’s final minutes to escape with a 100-97 win.
There were others whose stat line looked better than the 19-year-old rookie, but you would be hard-pressed to find another player who delivered in the clutch the way Brown did on Thursday.
There was a sequence late in the game in which Brown had a potential lay-up with a defender back. Rather than attack him and the rim, Brown drove towards the lane and, with his left hand, tossed a behind-the-back pass to Jordan Mickey for a dunk that would later prove to be the game-winning basket.
“The behind-the-back pass was the right play,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game. “The defender was coming at his hand. That was just flipping it back to two guys trailing; that was the right move. He did a lot of right things there at the very end.”
Following the game, Brown spoke with CSN’s Abby Chin about being on the floor in crunch time.
“These are the moments you live for, the moments that all players want to be on the floor for,” Brown said. “These are the moments you dream of when you’re four years old in the driveway; Just come out and be locked in. It’s a different kind of excitement when you’re on the floor like that.”
Here are other Stars, Studs and Duds from Thursday’s game.
Jonas Jerebko: He didn’t play major minutes (who does in the preseason?), but Jerebko’s impact was impossible to ignore. He played just 16 minutes, but finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Marcus Smart: Lots of hustle from the start, Smart delivered yet another all-around performance on Thursday. In 22 minutes, Smart finished with 13 points, four assists and three rebounds as well as two steals.
Terry Rozier: Jaylen Brown was a key to Boston’s fourth quarter surge, but Rozier’s floor game was instrumental in the Celtics comeback as well. The 6-2 Rozier came off the bench and finished with 10 points and a team-high 7 assists to go with three steals.
Al Horford: The more he plays, the more you have to like what you see if you’re a Celtics fan. Horford was the only starter who played well on Thursday, tallying a near double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds while logging just 21 minutes of court time.
Luis Scola: He may be 36 years old and seemingly near the end of his NBA career, but Scola still has some game left in him. The Celtics saw that first-hand on Thursday as Scola talled a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds in addition to dishing out five assists.
Trevor Booker: He’s with a bad team, but has an expanded role which bodes well for Booker’s fantasy league stock this season. He finished with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Anthony Bennett: The former No. 1 overall pick continues to look more and more like the worst number overall pick ever. He played 19 minutes, missing eight of his nine shot attempts.