Celtics

Brown's confidence despite rough shooting night makes all the difference in the end for C's

Brown's confidence despite rough shooting night makes all the difference in the end for C's

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. 

 

STARS

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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STUDS

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. 

 

DUDS

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.

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Kyrie gets the last laugh against Horford and Team Steph

Kyrie gets the last laugh against Horford and Team Steph

LOS ANGELES – Kyrie Irving and Al Horford were on different teams for the NBA's All-Star game pitting Team LeBron vs Team Steph, so somebody was coming back a loser.

But considering how competitive the game was for longer stretches than usual, both players came away feeling good in a relatively close all-star game that ended with Team LeBron edging Team Steph 148-145.

LeBron James led all scorers with 29 points along wit 10 rebounds and eight assists and walked away with Game MVP honors for the third time.

Irving, who played for Team LeBron, had a near double-double with 13 points and nine assists along with seven rebounds.

And Horford, who came off the bench for Team Steph, had six points and five rebounds along with two assists.  

“This was pretty fun,” Irving said. “I think that we showcased that tonight with an incredible competitive spirit. The game was kind of getting away, but I think a few of us took it a little personal that we wanted to keep the game still competitive and at a high level. Fans and everyone across so many different countries want to see the best players in the world showcase their talent.”

Horford echoed similar sentiments about the game which had a different format this year, with LeBron James and Stephen Curry each picking the two teams from the 22-player pool of players from both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

“Early, guys were making (defensive) plays,” Horford said. “Guys were making a point, they weren’t going to let it be a dunk fest.

Horford added, “Even last year and the year before, there was a lot of heat on how bad the game was. I felt like this game was, it was good.”

Irving, a five-time all-star, also acknowledged how he and some of the players wanted to change the perception of the all-star game as being nothing more than a glorified lay-up line.

“I think we all took it kind of personal,” Irving said. “Individually we wanted to come out and be competitive. Last year it was (192-182), tat’s just not as fun as communicating with guys that you don’t necessarily play with every single day, bouncing ideas off in the time-outs. It’s just that competitive fire that we all share.”

And then there’s the payday for winning.

Not only will various charities benefit from the game – LeBron James’ charity of choice gets $350,000 because his team won and Steph Curry’s charity of choice gets $150,000 – but the players on the winning team get a pretty nice check as well.

The winning team members each get $100,000 while the players on the losing team come away with $25,000.

“There was something that, something that we could look forward to if we got the win,” Irving acknowledged. “You know, they’ll probably bring up the cash prize, but … $100,000 to $25,000, I think everybody in this room would be doing the same things we were doing.”

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LeBron James savors first opportunity to build NBA roster

lebron_allstargame_2018.jpg
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LeBron James savors first opportunity to build NBA roster

LOS ANGELES – LeBron James had been mum on the process he used in selecting Team LeBron … until now.

Following Team LeBron’s 148-145 win over Team Steph, James revealed how he went about assembling is roster which included Boston’s Kyrie Irving who asked for a trade out of Cleveland last summer.

“I took Kevin (Durant) first, then I took (New Orleans) Anthony Davis, and I followed that with Kyrie and DeMarcus (Cousins).”

While this year’s all-star game had been billed as the ultimate pick-up game, it was clear that James put a tremendous amount of thought into assembling his team akin to what an NBA General Manager might do.

“I know who I like watching and I had a draft board,” James said. “I had a process. Some of it went to … it almost went according to plan. A couple of them fell through, but I was satisfied and happy with all the guys that I got.”

A reporter later asked James where was this draft board.

“Ain’t none of your business,” said James, grinning. “You’re going too far, man.”

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