Celtics

Jaylen Brown ready for starting role alongside Celtics' Big Three

Jaylen Brown ready for starting role alongside Celtics' Big Three

BOSTON – Jaylen Brown has been one of his team’s go-to players for most of his basketball life.
 
And while the talented second-year wing has shown potential to someday deliver in a similar fashion in the NBA, he knows his job – for now at least – is to be a role player.

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Brown’s role will likely be that of a starter heading into the Celtics' season opener at Cleveland on Tuesday night. 

Brown was the only player to start all four preseason games for the Celtics (4-0), averaging 10.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
 
But Brown’s insertion into the starting lineup with Boston’s Big Three of Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, has little to do with his ability to score, something he knows all too well.
 
“It’s different when you’re playing with three All-Stars on the court at the same time,” Brown said. “Just trying to find out how to be aggressive, but at the same time understand I have to play off those guys. I’ll figure it out.”

Throughout the preseason, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has stressed the importance of Brown needing to play at a high level defensively in order to give the C's what they will need from him.
 
Known as a slasher with above-average athleticism with highlight-worthy skills when it comes to finishing at the rim, Brown said he and Stevens are on the same page when it comes to defense.
 
In the preseason, Brown had a defensive rating of 83.3, which was tops among all Celtics who logged at least 20 minutes of court time per game.
 
What Boston loves about Brown as a defender, is the versatility he has to switch out at seemingly every position and still be able to hold his own.
 
In Boston’s 108-100 preseason win over Charlotte on Monday, Brown was defending 6-2 Kemba Walker in the third quarter and blocked his shot.
 
Shortly after that, Brown was matched up with 6-9 Marvin Williams and proceeded to block his shot as well.
 
When it comes to defense, “it’s part of me,” said Brown who added, “My pride, effort. Defense is part of getting to where I want to be, being an all-star and taking it to the next level, winning a championship, et cetera, etcetera. For now, I’m building the foundation, taking the steps necessary.”
 
Being an elite defender is a job that isn’t glitzy, and comes with very little glamour.
 
“I have no problem doing the dirty work,” Brown said.

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Gordon Hayward already back on the court and draining threes

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Gordon Hayward already back on the court and draining threes

Gordon Hayward had just about the most horrific debut any player could imagine.

We won't get into the details again, but it left many wondering the Celtics would even recover emotionally to compete in the East.

Now it's clear they are more than prepared to make some noise in the playoffs.

The most important recovery is Hayward's and tonight fans scrolled through social media to see encouraging progress.

Still can’t beat me... 🤷🏻‍♀️

A post shared by Robyn Hayward (@robynmhayward) on

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Irving: Struggling Celtics must 'weather the storm'

Irving: Struggling Celtics must 'weather the storm'

BOSTON – While it’s too soon to hit the panic button on the Boston Celtics’ season, Sunday’s 103-95 loss to Orlando is disturbing on multiple fronts. 

For starters, the Magic (14-32) have been in the NBA basement most of the season, so for them to see the light towards victory, on the road nonetheless, against the Celtics is bothersome for the Green Team. 

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Boston came into Sunday’s game with an impressive 17-3 record against teams with a sub-.500 record.

Making matters even worst, it was Boston’s third straight loss – a first for the Celtics this season - with all three defeats coming at the TD Garden. 

Celtics big man Al Horford said the team needs a “Fight for our lives’” mentality heading into Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

While no one wants to lose game, having to overcome some hurdles along the journey isn’t always a bad thing.

“Gotta have some adversity,” said Kyrie Irving who led all scorers with 40 points - the second time he has reached the 40-point plateau this season (47 points, Nov. 20 at Dallas). “We need it as a team. There’s a lot more adversity down the road. You have to be able to weather the storm no matter what.”

Aside from Gordon Hayward’s dislocated ankle injury in the season-opener, dropping three straight is probably the biggest adversity the Celtics have had this season. 

And this latest setback came against an Orlando franchise that the Celtics have absolutely owned at home. 

Prior to Sunday’s loss, Boston had not lost to the Magic at home since Feb. 7, 2010 with 14 straight wins.

"We didn't underestimate them," said Boston's Jaylen Brown who had 17 points. "They've been playing a lot better than they've been playing all year."

Al Horford echoed similar sentiments.

“You can’t underestimate any team,” Horford said. “I don’t think we necessarily did, but we need to have that sense of urgency like we started the game and be able to hold that throughout the game. That’s important.”

So is making the most of transition scoring opportunities which was an area of play in which the Celtics struggled mightily all game. 

Boston wound up with six, fast-break points on just 3-for-9 shooting. 

“We had some transition opportunities that we didn’t covert,” acknowledged Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. 

Failing to capitalize on those easy scoring opportunities came back to hurt Boston and in hindsight, proved to be one of the key differences in the game’s outcome. 

“Whether you’re doing things at an optimum level as you would like, that’s part of the game of learning one another,” Irving said. “Being able to figure out how to respond from that. Us as a group, we’ve come together in the last four months, five months, it’s new. We need to hit something like this in order for us to grow. It’s part of the game; part of being on a team, part of being a professional. Any team, any environment, you have to have stuff like this where you have to figure it out.”

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