Jaylen Brown was one of the few Boston Celtics starters on Monday who was not shooting the ball well.
And when the game was on the line, there was no hesitation on Al Horford’s part to pass up a good shot for himself, for Jaylen Brown to have a great one.
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That trust shown by Horford was rewarded as Brown hit the game-winning shot with 34 seconds to play that was the difference in Boston’s 111-110 win.
“He better take that (shot),” Boston’s Kyrie Irving told NBC Sports Boston’s Kyle Draper following the win. “He better take that. It’s a wide open 3 in the corner. He’s gotta shoot that. Three-for-10, three-for-freakin’-30. I don’t care. We got the same confidence in everybody else.”
And that is what makes the Celtics such a tough team to beat.
No matter who has the hot hand, there’s an unspoken confidence that whoever gets a chance to rise to the occasion and deliver down the stretch, will make the most of the moment.
And for Brown who had missed seven of his previous 10 shots (that included all four of his 3-point attempts) prior to the game-winner, there was no doubt in his mind what was going to happen if he had a chance to deliver a game-winning dagger.
“Short-term memory,” Brown said. “And just my mindset, I knew I miss everyone (three-pointer) prior, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I was just thinking, ‘man if I get this one, I’m hitting it, point blank.’”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 111-110 win over Denver which improved Boston’s record on its four-game West coast trip to 2-2.
Kyrie Irving: Monday’s win was yet another effective, highly efficient night for Irving. He led all scorers with 27 points on 11-for-17 shooting to go with six assists.
Nikola Jokic: One of the better young big man in the NBA, Jokic tallied a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds to go with five assists.
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Jayson Tatum: Lately, Tatum’s play has been like a roller coaster full of ups and downs. Monday night was one of his better games of late, finishing with 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting. It was his first game of 20 or more points since scoring 20 points on Christmas Day against the Washington Wizards.
Will Barton: His scoring kept the Nuggets within striking distance most of the game, finishing with 19 points on 8-for-18 shooting to go with seven rebounds and seven assists.
Terry Rozier: One of the few healthy point guards on the Celtics roster currently, Rozier had a near double-double with eight points and a season-high nine rebounds along with dishing out six assists.
Trey Lyles: He was one of the more problematic players that gave Boston fits most of the game. Lyles would tally 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go with seven rebounds.
Jaylen Brown: Brown was struggling with his shot most of the night. But to his credit, Brown stepped up and made the big shot, a game-winning 3-pointer with 34 seconds to play that was indeed the game-winning basket for Boston.
Celtics rebounding: Boston’s inability to keep the Nuggets off the glass consistently was indeed a factor in the game being so close. Boston managed to grab 40 rebounds compared to 47 by Denver. The Nuggets were particularly effective on the offensive glass where their 15 offensive rebounds led to 14, second-chance points compared to Boston getting seven, second-chance points.