Celtics

Brown's confidence despite rough shooting night makes all the difference in the end for C's

Brown's confidence despite rough shooting night makes all the difference in the end for C's

Jaylen Brown was one of the few Boston Celtics starters on Monday who was not shooting the ball well. 

And when the game was on the line, there was no hesitation on Al Horford’s part to pass up a good shot for himself, for Jaylen Brown to have a great one. 

MORE CELTICS - How the Clippers trading Griffin impacts the C's

That trust shown by Horford was rewarded as Brown hit the game-winning shot with 34 seconds to play that was the difference in Boston’s 111-110 win. 

“He better take that (shot),” Boston’s Kyrie Irving told NBC Sports Boston’s Kyle Draper following the win. “He better take that. It’s a wide open 3 in the corner. He’s gotta shoot that. Three-for-10, three-for-freakin’-30. I don’t care. We got the same confidence in everybody else.”

And that is what makes the Celtics such a tough team to beat. 

No matter who has the hot hand, there’s an unspoken confidence that whoever gets a chance to rise to the occasion and deliver down the stretch, will make the most of the moment.

And for Brown who had missed seven of his previous 10 shots (that included all four of his 3-point attempts) prior to the game-winner, there was no doubt in his mind what was going to happen if he had a chance to deliver a game-winning dagger. 

“Short-term memory,” Brown said. “And just my mindset, I knew I miss everyone (three-pointer) prior, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I was just thinking, ‘man if I get this one, I’m hitting it, point blank.’”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 111-110 win over Denver which improved Boston’s record on its four-game West coast trip to 2-2. 

 

STARS

Kyrie Irving: Monday’s win was yet another effective, highly efficient night for Irving. He led all scorers with 27 points on 11-for-17 shooting to go with six assists.

Nikola Jokic: One of the better young big man in the NBA, Jokic tallied a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds to go with five assists.

 

MORE NBCSPORTSBOSTON.COM - How will Brady handle life without McDaniels?

 

STUDS

Jayson Tatum: Lately, Tatum’s play has been like a roller coaster full of ups and downs. Monday night was one of his better games of late, finishing with 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting. It was his first game of 20 or more points since scoring 20 points on Christmas Day against the Washington Wizards.

Will Barton: His scoring kept the Nuggets within striking distance most of the game, finishing with 19 points on 8-for-18 shooting to go with seven rebounds and seven assists. 

Terry Rozier: One of the few healthy point guards on the Celtics roster currently, Rozier had a near double-double with eight points and a season-high nine rebounds along with dishing out six assists. 

Trey Lyles: He was one of the more problematic players that gave Boston fits most of the game. Lyles would tally 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go with seven rebounds. 

Jaylen Brown: Brown was struggling with his shot most of the night. But to his credit, Brown stepped up and made the big shot, a game-winning 3-pointer with 34 seconds to play that was indeed the game-winning basket for Boston. 

 

DUDS

Celtics rebounding: Boston’s inability to keep the Nuggets off the glass consistently was indeed a factor in the game being so close. Boston managed to grab 40 rebounds compared to 47 by Denver. The Nuggets were particularly effective on the offensive glass where their 15 offensive rebounds led to 14, second-chance points compared to Boston getting seven, second-chance points.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

J.J. Redick: TD Garden loudest place to play

cp-sixers-76ers-embiid-redick-050118.jpg
File Photo

J.J. Redick: TD Garden loudest place to play

If you're wondering why the Celtics are 10-0 at home this postseason, the fact that TD Garden is capable of overwhelming opponents might have something to do with it. 

Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast, 76ers guard J.J. Redick said that the energy of Celtics fans made the Garden a very challenging environment during the C's second-round meeting with Philly. He added that later start times -- an underappreciated aspect of a home advantage -- made it even harder. 

"They're unruly. Every guy on our team afterwards was like, 'That's the loudest place that [we've] ever played,'" Redick said. "I was a little worried [about the] later games. They were like 8:30 [p.m.] starts. I was like, 'Oh man, this is three and a half hours of drinking, when these guys get off work and come to the game.' That worried me. They were going to be extra loud. 

“My parents were at Game 5 and I went and saw them after the game before we got on the plane, and my mom was like, 'That’s the loudest arena I’ve ever been in,'" Redick recalled. "She’s been in some pretty incredible arenas, including Cameron Indoor Stadium for some pretty big-time Duke games, so for her to say that, it’s the truth. Their fans are nuts.”

Another fun Celtics-related anecdote? Redick, who spoke surprisingly highly of Marcus Smart, said his only particularly bad interaction with a Celtics player was with the ever-polished Jaylen Brown, whom he said called him a bitch and promptly apologized when the teams played on Jan. 11.

"When were in London, Jaylen was guarding me for that game and at one point in the second half -- I'm going to cuss on your show; I'm sorry -- but he called me a bitch and I looked at him and was like, ‘I don’t play that’ and he was like, ‘Oh,  OK, I’m sorry.’ That was my only [bad] interaction. We played them 11 times this year and that was my only negative interaction with anyone on their team.”

As series progresses, LeBron's getting tired of Celtics

As series progresses, LeBron's getting tired of Celtics

BOSTON -- One of the reasons the Celtics came into this series against Cleveland more confident than most teams was due to their depth at the wing position.
 
Boston has played a solid eight-man rotation in this series, and all but 6-foot-2 Terry Rozier has the size, length and athleticism to at least slow down LeBron James from time to time.
 
The plan from the very beginning was to wear down the perennial All-Star, something both sides acknowledged played a role in Boston's 96-83 Game 5 win.

MORE GAME 5

 
James had a strong double-double of 26 points on 11-for-22 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and 5 assists. But he couldn't muster up enough in the fourth quarter to take over and dominate play, scoring just two points in the fourth while missing three of his four shot attempts.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was asked whether James looked tired.
 
"He looked a little tired to me, yes," Lue said.


 
 Boston's Marcus Morris reiterated Lue's sentiments about James.

"Yeah. I seen it," said Morris when asked if he saw James tiring as the game wore on. "We threw a lot of different bodies at him. He has to do a lot for that team. Everybody knows these games are coming pretty quick; games are coming fast."

Morris added, "At the end of the day . . . I'm tired. Everybody else is tired. You still gotta play. I would think he would get a little tired."
 
James, playing in his 15th NBA season, played all 82 regular-season games and led the NBA in minutes played (36.9) per game. Among teams still in the postseason, James is averaging a league-high 40.6 minutes per game in the playoffs.
 
Throw in the fact that he nearly always plays until mid-June -- he's been to the NBA Finals each of the last seven seasons -- and it stands to reason that at some point, fatigue would become a factor.
 
And the Celtics, to their credit, have not made it easy on him. We have seen James defend Boston's perimeter 1-2 punch of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, a pair of young, athletic wing players who have been aggressive going at James and his teammates.


 
One of the best conditioned athletes in the NBA, James acknowledged that there were moments in Game 5 when fatigue became an issue for him.
 
"I had my moments," he said. "But I think everybody at this point is tired or worn down or whatever the case may be."
 
That said, his stat line speaks to how James was still a dominant force for the Cavs.
 
"Still trying to make plays to help our team win," James said. "Put us in position to win. We had moments. We had an opportunity, but we didn't make enough plays."
 
The key for James is recovery time, something he and the rest of the players in this series haven't had much of lately.

DJ BEAN

 
After the three-day gap between Games 2 and 3, each of the remaining games in this series have been, and will be, played every other day -- something that probably benefits the younger Celtics more than James and the older Cavs.
 
But at this point in the season, while all acknowledge that having some level of fatigue is just a reality of where this series is now, no one's using it as an excuse. And certainly not James.
 
"I'm fine," he said. "I'm fine."
 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE