WASHINGTON – For most of this season, Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum have Boston’s 1-2 scoring punch down the stretch.
But as we saw in the 110-104 overtime win against Washington on Thursday night, Jaylen Brown can deliver in the clutch as well.
After winning a jump ball with less than two minutes to play, seconds later Brown drained a corner 3-pointer that proved to be the dagger that the Wizards were not able to overcome.
“The shot clock was going down,” Brown recalled. “I took my time and took a shot that I’ve been working on for a while now. It shows itself in the game.”
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Indeed, the work that Brown put in this summer has manifested itself into a strong sophomore campaign that has been one of the primary reasons why the Celtics (40-16) have been riding high this season.
Brown has more than doubled his scoring average (14.2 this season, was 6.6 as a rookie last season) while significantly increasing the level of responsibility he has on defense.
In Boston’s win over Washington, Brown spent a significant amount of time defending Bradley Beal, utilizing his length to contribute to a rough night for Beal who had 18 points but did so on 7-for-27 shooting.
Here are five takeaways from the 110-104 overtime win against the Washington Wizards:
BIG BOY LINEUP
Boston found success with a big boy lineup that included four players who were 6-7 or taller, a unit that helped swing the game’s momentum slightly towards Boston in the second quarter, Stevens turned to the five-man unit of Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris, Daniel Theis and Greg Monroe in the second half and they had yet another solid stint together.
Although Greg Monroe hadn’t played in a game since Jan. 29 prior to Thursday night, you could tell that he had made a point of working on his conditioning to stay game-ready. In his Celtics debut, he played 20 minutes while scoring five points to go along with six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
The pace that he played with on Thursday night was much, much better than what we saw at Toronto earlier this week. Irving did a better job of picking his spots when to attack the Wizards. And the end result was a game-high 28 points on 9-for-19 shooting to go with six rebounds and six assists.
LINE ‘EM UP
The Celtics spent more time working the ball inside the paint as well as attacking off the dribble, resulting in more trips to the free throw line than usual. For the game, Boston was 23-for-34 from the free throw line. The idea that they shot just 67.6 percent from the line is disappointing. But the fact that they went there so frequently compared to the Wizards (16-for-20), was a definite positive for the Celtics.
Boston’s second unit went four deep on Thursday, with Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris, Daniel Theis and Greg Monroe. And to their credit, they each had a hand in Boston getting a hard-earned road win which included them collectively outscoring Washington’s backups 39-26.