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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Horford: Fighting in NBA 'needs to stop'

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Horford: Fighting in NBA 'needs to stop'

WALTHAM, Mass. – Three Houston Rockets players entered the Los Angeles Clippers’ training room before being stopped by security but not before a profanity-laced exchange that’s sure to result in fines and possibly some suspensions.

Orlando’s Arron Afflalo threw a punch – and barely missed – hitting Minnesota’s Nemanja Bjelica which led to both players being ejected and for Afflalo will likely result in a suspension of some kind.

Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons got into it with Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, resulting in both players being tossed and apparently leading to Simmons signaling to Lowry that they could continue having their “discussion” in the hallway.

That hallway encounter never happened (Lowry said he was there, Simmons said he didn’t see Lowry so you believe who you want to), but the fact that it was even a possibility speaks to this being one of the more bizarre weeks in recent memory when it comes to potential fighting in the league. 

And remember … it’s only freakin’ Wednesday!

I asked Boston’s Al Horford about this.

“It’s very, very bizarre,” said Horford, now in his 11th NBA season. “I don’t think I remember any period of time, (with) all this chippiness going on. You want to compete, you want to play hard; that’s fine. But all the extra stuff, I think needs to stop. At the end of the day you need to focus on basketball. We’re here to play.”

Horford added, “I’m sure the NBA will address those things and fix them.”

No one was shocked that things got a little testy in the Houston-Los Angeles Clippers game which was played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was the first time Chris Paul, now with the Rockets, returned to Los Angeles to face his former team. 

The Clippers won 113-102, a game filled with trash talk from both sides. But apparently the chatter soon turned to chippy play with hard fouls delivered and taken in the latter stages of play with a total of five technical fouls called, two of which were on Blake Griffin which is an automatic ejection. 

Talking trash gone bad was a factor in the Simmons-Lowry bruhaha with the Sixers emerging with the victory. 

And on Tuesday, Afflalo and Bjelica had already been assessed a technical for an earlier run-in. Soon after, there was a collision between the two which pissed off Afflalo who swung with great force at Bjelica’s face. 

“We’re professionals,” Horford said. “We can’t get caught up in that stuff.”

Horford plays around the basket and is no stranger to banging around with the big, bad angry bodies. 

But as much as there will be times when he’ll want to snap, Horford has consistently resisted the urge. 

“It’s hard; it’s hard,” he said. “But we have to remember what we play the game for; I play to win. I’m playing for my teammates and sometimes you need to take a step back before you do something you regret. That’s the way I look at it.”

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Celtics, NBA remember Jo Jo White's kindness, work ethic

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Celtics, NBA remember Jo Jo White's kindness, work ethic

There was no such thing as a minutes restriction when it came to Jo Jo White.

“I remember Jo Jo in the triple-overtime [NBA Finals game against the Phoenix Suns], when he carried the team and played all of those minutes,” Celtics legend and fellow Hall of Famer Tommy Heinsohn told the Boston Herald. Heinsohn was White's coach in that game as the C's guard scored 33 points and played 60 of the 63 minutes in Boston's 128-126 victory. “After it was over, he just sat on the floor and couldn’t get up.”

Another ex-Celtic Hall of Famer, and White's teammate Dave Cowens, told the Herald: "What Jo Jo was for us was really like an iron man. He played a lot of minutes. He was always in shape. Always.”

Former teammates and current Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge remembered White, the Hall of Famer who died Tuesday of cancer at 71, as more than just a great, hard-working player.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver called White "a legend of our game" in a statement:

The Celtics' statement remembered White as "a champion and a gentleman."  

Here's a look back at White's career, via @NBAHistory: