Brown looks to make adjustments after Cavs limit him in Game 3

Brown looks to make adjustments after Cavs limit him in Game 3

CLEVELAND – The first two games of the Eastern Conference finals between Boston and Cleveland, the Cavs' defense was hell-bent on trying to limit Jayson Tatum which as it turned out, paved the way for big games from Jaylen Brown. 

Well, the Cavs ditched the usual plan which was to pay added attention to Tatum, and instead do all they could to limit Brown in the first quarter. 

It worked. 

Brown, who has done some of his best work in this series in the first quarter, was being paid significantly more attention than Games 1 and 2 at the outset of Game 3 which proved to be an important key to Cleveland’s 116-86 win. 

Brown, who was also in foul trouble early and often in Game 3, tallied just 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting along with turning the ball over three times which tied Marcus Smart for the team lead.

What stood out about Brown’s first quarter stat line was how he was scoreless on one missed shot from the field in the first.

Brown acknowledged after the game how the Cavaliers defended him very differently than they had in the previous two games. 

“I just don’t think they let me catch the ball,” Brown said. “They were denying me. They didn’t want me to get the ball and when I did get it, it wasn’t in the position I was comfortable in.” 

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue acknowledged after the win that part of the game plan was to pay closer attention to Brown who had been averaging 13.5 points scored in the first quarter. 

“We changed a couple things up,” Lue acknowledged. “We know Jaylen is a first-quarter player. He plays good throughout the game, but he really sets the tone early in that first quarter. So we wanted to do a good job on him. I thought LeBron (James) did a good job of closing out to him, making him put it on the floor, cutting him off and making him play in a crowd. It was good for us to slow him down that first quarter because he’s been really good in Boston.” 

There’s no question Brown was disappointed with the loss. But he’s far from deterred in achieving his primary goal here in Cleveland – come away with at least one win.

“I got to go back and look at it (Game 3),” Brown said and then added, “make adjustments and come back and try to get one here.”


Who will be the Celtics' leader on the boards this season?

Who will be the Celtics' leader on the boards this season?

BOSTON – This Celtics team is built to play position-less basketball, a style that lends itself to offensive mismatches.

But the downside lies in rebounding, which can be more difficult with players on the floor for whom board work may not be one of their strengths.

That brings us to the Celtics, who showed most of last season that they can find success on the boards even with players who may not traditionally be viewed as big-time rebounders.

So, who will be the chairman of the boards for Boston this season?

He led the team in rebounding last season at 7.4 per game and comes in as the odds-on favorite to repeat. The 32-year-old’s versatility to play both around the basket and on the perimeter will keep him on the floor a ton. And that will give him the best shot at making his presence felt on the glass, which will be one of the areas Boston has to find success to have the kind of season they believe they're capable of delivering. He had 14 double-doubles in points and rebounds last season and came within one rebound of a double-double on 10 other occasions.


This is my pick to lead in rebounding, if it’s not Horford. Minutes more than anything else are what I believe would keep Theis from leading this team in rebounds. As a rookie last season, he led the team in rebounding percentage (.160) while grabbing 4.3 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game. The 26-year-old started to show signs of becoming a 3-point threat, which bodes well for his chances at seeing as much playing time or even more, this season. And with increased minutes come a more impactful role, a role that will surely include him doing a strong job rebounding.


When you think of rebounding, 6-foot-2 combo guards don’t come to mind. But Rozier has already shown himself to be among the better rebounding guards in the NBA. With Boston having so many perimeter threats on the roster, that creates gaps and seams towards the rim that Rozier could easily slip into and do what he does as well as any guard in the NBA not named Russell Westbrook – and that’s rebound.

His length, deceptive athleticism and basketball smarts make him a player who could factor in the team’s rebounding efforts on a grander level this season. With Gordon Hayward (ankle) back in the mix along with Kyrie Irving, there’s a very real possibility that Tatum could be looked upon to become a better rebounder after averaging 5.0 per game last season. The key to Tatum’s improvement in this area will lie in his rebounding percentage numbers. Although he was fifth on the team in rebounds per game last season, his rebounding percentage (.091) was seventh among players who began the season in Boston and played more than half the season. Improvement in this area would do wonders for the Celtics.



Gordon Hayward close to new sneaker deal

Gordon Hayward close to new sneaker deal

Celtics star Gordon Hayward is close to coming to terms on a multi-year sneaker deal after being courted by a number of shoemakers.

Sports shoe and apparel giant Nike, Chinese company Anta and Boston-based New Balance, which has a sponsorship deal with the C's new Auerbach Center training facility, are pursuing Hayward.

Anta reportedly made Hayward an offer about a month ago, according to ESPN's Nick DePaula:

Former Celtics Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo had deals with Anta. Hayward, coming back this season after missing nearly all of last season after an injury five minutes into Celtics debut, has been with Nike, including wearing the company's Kobe 11 shoe.