Celtics

Jaylen Brown downgraded to out vs. Bucks with thumb injury

Jaylen Brown downgraded to out vs. Bucks with thumb injury

The Boston Celtics will be without a key player on Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Jaylen Brown has been downgraded to out due to a right thumb sprain he sustained in Wednesday's game against the Detroit Pistons. Robert Williams also will be out due to a left hip bone edema.

Brown is averaging 20 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2. 3 assists per game this season for the C's while shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from beyond the arc.

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Boston has lost four out of it's last six games and things won't be easy against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the first-place Bucks. With Brown out, Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum will be relied upon even more to put up big numbers and provide Boston with the spark it needs to turn things around.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Bucks, which begins Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Why Jaylen Brown's reaction to Jayson Tatum's strong play should thrill Celtics fans

Why Jaylen Brown's reaction to Jayson Tatum's strong play should thrill Celtics fans

The Boston Celtics' 2018-19 season got derailed in part because there were too many mouths to feed.

You could argue the same scenario is possible on the 2019-20 Celtics: With Jayson Tatum blossoming into a superstar alongside established All-Stars Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward, a young talent like Jaylen Brown may get overlooked.

But that scenario doesn't seem possible -- because Brown refuses to let it happen.

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Here's the 23-year-old wing after Tatum went off for 36 points in Tuesday's 118-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers:

"You’ve got to want for your brother what you want for yourself," Brown told reporters. " ... He’s playing unreal. He’s playing the best ball of his career. So let’s keep going. Let’s see how we can keep feeding it to him. If he keeps making shots like that, I don’t see why not, right?"

Brown and Tatum share a close bond as No. 3 overall picks in the 2016 and 2017 NBA Drafts, respectively, both thriving during the 2018 playoffs in the absences of Hayward and Kyrie Irving.

While Brown is enjoying his own career season -- he tallied 24 points Tuesday and is averaging 20.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game -- Tatum has skyrocketed past him as an elite NBA talent who earned his first All-Star nod this season.

Yet Brown bristled at the notion that Tatum's recent success has "motivated" him to elevate his own game.

"I don’t look at it as he motivates me," Brown said, via Mass Live's Tom Westerholm. "I’m supporting him, and I think we’re on the same team so it’s not a contrast one against the other.

"I know a lot of times people try to dichotomize Jaylen. We’re on the same team. As he’s doing well, I’m doing well. If I’m doing well, he’s doing well, because we’re on the same team."

That response should be music to Celtics fans' ears after chemistry issues hastened a second-round playoff exit for last season's talented squad.

This season's Celtics are certainly benefiting from Tatum and Brown's success: Boston is 23-4 when Tatum scores 24 or more points and 15-1 when Brown drops 24 or more.

"He’s one of the biggest reasons we’ve been winning," Tatum acknowledged of Brown after the game.

Tatum and Brown's ability to thrive together is a big reason why the Celtics own the NBA's fourth-best record.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Jazz, which begins Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Carmelo Anthony gushes about Jayson Tatum, swaps jerseys with Celtics star

Carmelo Anthony gushes about Jayson Tatum, swaps jerseys with Celtics star

Here's another perk of Jayson Tatum's ascent to stardom: He's earning the admiration of the players he once idolized.

On Sunday, it was Lakers superstar LeBron James, who called Tatum an "absolute problem" after the Boston Celtics forward dropped 41 points on Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, it was another 2003 NBA Draft alum in Carmelo Anthony, who swapped jerseys with Tatum after the 21-year-old exploded for 36 points in Boston's 118-106 win in Portland.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

"Oh man, Melo is, besides Kobe (Bryant), probably one of my top three favorite players," Tatum after the jersey swap, via NBC Sports Northwest's Jamie Hudson. "I studied him so much growing up and I’m one of his biggest fans. ... I really looked up to him."

Tatum, who was five years old when Anthony entered the league, spent time with the 10-time All-Star this summer at a Jordan Brand event in Paris.

Anthony was a fan of Tatum then. Needless to say, he's become an even bigger fan after watching the third-year forward morph into an elite player.

"He's like a little brother to me," Anthony said. "I love him. He’s a guy that’s establishing himself, as we’re all witnessing, all watching. I mean, I love his game, I love watching him play.

"I was able to have some one-on-one time with him, get a chance to know him better as a person first, but his game speaks for itself and it’ll continue to blossom."

The 35-year-old also seemed pleased Tatum held him in such high regard after seeking him out for a jersey swap.

"It makes me kind of appreciate what I do," Anthony said. "For guys to acknowledge that and see that and watch that and want to learn from that, for me, that’s what it’s all about."

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Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Jazz, which begins Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.