Celtics

Brown on Kemba injury: 'It gives everybody a little bit of a scare'

Brown on Kemba injury: 'It gives everybody a little bit of a scare'

BOSTON — As Kemba Walker laid on the Pepsi Center floor after a head-to-chest collision with teammate Semi Ojeleye Friday night, there were few in the building who could relate to what Walker was experiencing in that moment. 

Count Jaylen Brown among those who understood, better than he would have wanted to. 

It was just a couple years ago that Brown found himself crashing hard to the floor that brought on a series of concussion-like symptoms, similar to what Walker is dealing with now. 

On March 8, 2018 at Minnesota, Brown grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a dunk only to lose his grip on the rim and land on his upper back just below his neck. 

WHAT'S NEXT FOR KEMBA IF HE'S IN CONCUSSION PROTOCOL >>>

Replays of the incident show Brown blinking several times quickly before blacking out. 

“When I was unconscious, completely knocked out, I remember people were saying ‘we’re going to get a stretcher,’ and something came over me and I just got right up,” Brown told reporters shortly after his fall, in 2018. 

Brown added, “Could have been worse, to be honest — just a blessing that I didn’t need a stretcher or anything to walk off the floor with. Scary because people were tweeting and everything, and it’s just a scary situation for me because you never want to be in a situation where people are saying they’re praying for you, or anything like that.”

As Walker was being attended to by the Celtics medical staff, surrounded by teammates, Brown couldn’t help but think back to when he was in a similar situation and what that felt like emotionally.  

“It gives everybody a little bit of a scare,” Brown said after Friday's loss at Denver.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “You’re always thinking about it. You still have to play the last 27 minutes which is not a fun part of it but I thought our guys and Denver, competed hard the rest of the game.”

Brown soon found himself in the NBA’s concussion protocol program following his 2018 fall, which involves a series of tests and evaluations by medical officials prior to the athlete being able to resume playing. 

For Brown, his time in the league’s concussion protocol program kept him out of six games for Boston. 

And last season, Gordon Hayward was placed in the concussion protocol program after a collision with Atlanta’s John Collins this past spring — almost a year after Brown’s concussion.  

Hayward’s concussion led to him being sidelined for three games. 

While it’s anyone’s guess as to when Walker will return to the court, the Celtics players are bracing for being without their leading scorer for a few games. 

And they are thankful that by all accounts thus far, Walker’s injury is one that thus far has produced encouraging results and optimism about his return. 

“Our thoughts are with him to make sure his health is prioritized and stuff like that,” Brown said. “I’ve been through similar injury. Just the support, I think that’s important in things like that. Our prayers and energy are definitely with him.”

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The Enes Kanter Show: Why he snapped at Kendrick Perkins over Celtics tweet

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

The Enes Kanter Show: Why he snapped at Kendrick Perkins over Celtics tweet

Enes Kanter likes to have fun on Twitter.

But the Boston Celtics big man also has to look out for his own.

That's why, when ESPN analyst (and former Celtic) Kendrick Perkins openly proposed that the Celtics trade Gordon Hayward for Steven Adams to give them their "missing piece," Kanter snapped back

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On the latest episode of "The Enes Kanter Show," Kanter explained to NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg why couldn't let Perkins' tweet slide.

Click here to listen and subscribe to The Enes Kanter Show Podcast:

 

I look at it this way: This is my family. My teammates are like my brothers. ... And it doesn't matter who you are. I will not let anyone mess with my brothers.

You don't know what Gordon or anyone else is going through. People respect Perkins a lot, and I respect him too. But for him to just go out there and say it like that, I was like, 'You cannot mess with my family like that."

The Celtics have been involved in speculation about adding a big man before the Feb. 6 trade deadline. This current group is tight-knit, though, and it's nice to see Kanter standing up for Hayward, who was also his teammate for three-plus seasons on the Utah Jazz.

"Our locker room is our locker room," Kanter added. "We won't let any distraction or outside voice break us down."

Check out the full episode above -- Kanter also discusses his fondest memories of the late Kobe Bryant and growing up a Lakers fan in Turkey -- and subscribe to "The Enes Kanter Show" on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network.

Celtics' Marcus Smart again comes up with 'unbelievable' key plays late that shouldn't be overlooked

Celtics' Marcus Smart again comes up with 'unbelievable' key plays late that shouldn't be overlooked

MIAMI — Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Marcus Smart labors through a rough shooting night and is uncharacteristically sloppy handling the ball for the better part of three quarters. Then, crunch time rolls around and Marcus Smart morphs into the most valuable player on the court.

It’s a tale as old as time. But it played itself out again on Tuesday night in Miami. Smart missed nine of his first 10 shots and matched his season-high with four turnovers.

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Still, with the game in the balance, Smart did Smart things. Like calmly knocking down a straightaway 3-pointer with 1:50 remaining on a kick out from Kemba Walker. Like swatting down what should have been an easy Bam Adebayo dunk a short time later. Like flinging himself into a trio of baby-blue jerseys and out-jumping the springy Adebayo for an impossible offensive rebound in the final minute.

A cursory glance at the box score will have most dismissing Smart’s night. He finished with 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting — missing all five of his shots inside the arc and five more of eight beyond it — with the four turnovers. 

But he balanced it out with eight rebounds, four assists, and three blocks in 36:29. All while being absolutely everywhere down the stretch as the Celtics picked up one of their best road wins of the season in Miami.

What was going through Smart’s mind late in the game?

“Win,” said Smart. "To me, it’s just what can I do to help my team? And, [on the offensive rebound], I saw a loose ball. I just thought, first one to get it, whatever happens, happens.

"I’m in the air, so I was hoping I didn’t get flipped or get hit in the face like I usually do. But you can’t think of that in the moment. You gotta go, and go hit the ball. First person to the floor, first person to the ball wins.”

Walker marveled at the way Smart makes all the key plays in high-pressure situations.

"Man, that dude. I love that dude,” said Walker. "I love his passion for the game. I love his energy. I love how he competes each and every night. He makes me want to compete just like him.

"He’s just so tough. He’s not scared of the moment. He made so many huge plays down the stretch. I know everybody will probably say the 3 that he made, but Adebayo had an open basket, he blocked his shot. I missed a shot, he got a huge [rebound]. He’s unbelievable. Unbelievable.”

Smart seemed smitten to learn of Walker’s praise. He noted it carries additional heft because of Walker’s All-Star status and the intensity that Walker brings to the floor.

“It’s a great feeling. I love Kemba, that’s my brother,” said Smart. “Just like all these guys in this locker room. But to hear somebody of his caliber just really really really give you praise and the recognition that you probably never get, it means a lot.”

Smart said he couldn’t allow missed shots to impact his energy. In fact, the missed shots only caused him to lock in a bit more defensively and find other ways to impact the game.

And all the struggles of the first 46 minutes will be forgotten because of his efforts in the last two.

“Continue to do what I normally do. I don’t really let shots not falling affect how I play, energy-wise,” said Smart. “Times like that, when your shot's not falling, your defense has to be at an all-time high. So, for me, just making sure guys are in the right spots on the defensive end and just really really really getting guys like [Jaylen Brown] and Gordon [Hayward] — they were the hot guys tonight, so we were trying to find them as much as we can.”

Still, teammates marvel at the way Smart can just take over a game with nothing more than grit and desire.

“Getting that tip-out…when he tipped it out and we were able to shoot free throws, that was a big momentum play, a huge play, at the end of the game,” said Grant Williams, who has affectionately dubbed himself a "Smart Mini-Me” and left a similar energy-filled stamp on the game Tuesday night. Williams noted that Smart’s play undoubtedly rubs off on the rest of the team.

Said Williams: “Just following his lead.”

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