Jaylen Brown was selected Tuesday as a reserve for the Eastern Conference team in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game next month in Atlanta, near where he grew up in Georgia. Normally, it would have been a reason for Brown to be in an upbeat mood.
But when you consider how poorly the Celtics have played of late, it's pretty difficult to be excited about something like the All-Star Game.
Brown admitted after Tuesday night's heartbreaking loss to the Dallas Mavericks that he doesn't "feel very much like an All-Star because we’re below .500."
Check out his candid comments in the video below:
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum also was selected to the All-Star game as a reserve. Tatum has now earned All-Star appearances in back-to-back years. It's an impressive feat, but Tatum is more focused on where the Celtics stand as a team.
“It’s twofold,” Tatum said. “Because obviously, I was happy for (Brown) as his first All-Star. Like I said, he deserved it. But then, it’s like, damn, you look at our record and where we’re at, and it’s hard to really focus on that when we're not where we want to be at as a team. That’s how I kind of approach it, honestly.
“Obviously, it’s an honor to be an All-Star but we’re used to winning games and being at the top of the East. I think that’s what my focus is -- just trying to figure out what’s next for the team.”
Brown also said he's "hopeful" the Celtics can make a run and that it's "very much in our grasp to do so."
The Celtics have shown flashes of being a very good team throughout 2021. Earlier in the season they were 8-3 and sat atop the Eastern Conference standings. They've lost 13 of their last 20 games since that point, and now sit below .500 at 15-16.
The C's have five more games before the All-Star break, and it's not an easy stretch.
The first matchup is Wednesday night versus the Atlanta Hawks, a talented young team that beat Boston at TD Garden last week. The following matchup is against a good Indiana Pacers team on Friday night. The C's play the Wizards on Sunday. The Wizards are among the East's worst teams, but they handed the Celtics an embarrassing 104-91 loss on Feb. 14 and have won five of their last six games.
The final two games are against an elite Los Angeles Clippers squad on March 2 and versus a quality Toronto Raptors team on March 4.
The Celtics must play some of their best basketball of the season to take care of business in these games and build some much-needed momentum/confidence entering the All-Star break. It'll be up to Tatum and Brown to shoulder the burden at both ends of the floor and ignite the Celtics' resurgence over this important stretch.