BOSTON -- Jaylen Brown is an intense player whose emotions are rarely on display, let alone talked about.
But after Boston’s 126-94 blowout win over Charlotte, Brown discussed his play which included him opening up ever-so-slightly to where he’s at emotionally.
“I’m having fun out there,” he said.
And that more than anything else, speaks to the comfort level that Brown is steadily trending towards as he continues to adjust to coming off the bench after spending most of last season and the early portion of this season with the first unit.
Brown led all scorers on Wednesday with 24 points, the second time this season he has tallied 20 or more points in back-to-back games.
He’ll look for the three-peat on Friday when the Celtics hit the road to face the New York Knicks.
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To hear Brown talk about being happy on the floor, is great not only for him emotionally but it’s also a positive for a Celtics team that will need him to continue his strong play if the team’s goal - get to the NBA Finals - has a legit shot of coming to fruition.
And on Monday, Brown showcased the kind of versatility that makes him a tough cover for most second unit wing players.
At 6-foot-7 with above-average leaping ability with a frame that’s stronger than it might appear to be upon first glance, Brown has shown the ability to recognize mismatches and then take advantage of them whether it's drives to the lane pull-up jumpers or 3-pointers.
And while he did have a couple of dunks that turned quite a few heads on Wednesday, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens quickly acknowledged that Brown did more in the Hornets game than just play above the rim.
“You know it’s one of those nights where Jaylen, I thought, not only got going on the offensive end with good, solid action and play off of actions, but then also played with great effort to get to a couple of loose balls that ended up landing in his hands and he laid it in,” Stevens said.
Brown described his play as, “just trying to be aggressive; just trying to come out, play the right way.”
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That’s easier done than said when you are a starter, knowing you will get a shot at impacting the game from the opening tip-off.
Brown was a starter in all 70 games he played in last season, finishing as the team’s No. 2 scorer behind Kyrie Irving, with a 14.5 points per game average.
He has 22 starts this season while appearing in 45 games, and his scoring average is down to 12.4 points per game while playing around five minutes less per outing.
Brown has acknowledged that coming off the bench versus starting has been a bit of an adjustment for him this season, the kind of adjustment teammate Marcus Smart understands all too well.
Many people forget that Smart was a starter who got hurt, and was replaced by then-newly acquired Isaiah Thomas who was viewed primarily as an instant offensive spark off the bench.
But with Thomas inserted into the starting lineup, both he and the Celtics began to soar to unexpected heights and levels of success.
So when Smart was healthy enough to return to action, he found himself coming off the bench which he admitted at that time and now, required some adjusting on his part.
When I asked him tonight what was key to making that kind of transition a successful, Smart said, “Keeping the same energy; you can’t get too high, you can’t get too low. It becomes a mental thing at that point. When you get in the game, do what you do best to help this team win and find ways to do that.”
Smart knows Brown is going through that now, but isn’t the least bit worried about whether he can make it work.
“He’ll figure it out,” Smart said. “He’s doing a really good job.”
And the best part?
Brown is having fun.
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