Celtics

A. Sherrod Blakely's Takeaways: Is Jaylen Brown the league's Most Improved Player?

Celtics

The Boston Celtics did not play their best basketball against the injury-riddled Golden State Warriors. 

There were missed assignments, missed shots and missed rotations. 

Despite all that didn’t go their way, the Celtics did not miss out on an opportunity to continue their winning ways as they rallied in the fourth quarter for a 105-100 win. 

Boston (10-1) maintains its spot atop the NBA standings with its 10th straight win, doing so with a 13-3 run to finish off the Warriors (2-11). 

Because Boston and Golden State have been trending in completely different directions this season, some might have found the down-to-the-wire finish surprising. 

Not Marcus Smart. 

“We knew coming in it was going to be ugly,” he told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin following the win. “We came up with the win. That’s all that matters.”

Here are three takeaways from Boston’s 105-100 win over the Golden State Warriors. 

JAYSON TATUM

We’re getting to the point where Tatum having a night when he scores 20 or more points, isn’t all that surprising. He led the Celtics with 24 points on Friday night, with none looming any larger than the dunk he had late in the game after stealing a jump ball that was one of those uplifting moments for the Celtics while deflating to their opponent. 

SS KEMBA TO THE RESCUE

This was yet another night in which Kemba Walker struggled with his shot in the first half, only to step up in the fourth quarter which is when he scored 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Walker would finish the night with 20 points along with five rebounds and five assists.

“That’s the true definition of a leader,” Smart said. “He wasn’t doing good in the first half but he stayed the course.” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “He’s been unbelievable all year but certainly at the end of games, he’s been remarkable. Kemba, he makes you feel you always have a chance because he makes such big baskets.”

JAYLEN BROWN

The case for Jaylen Brown entering the Most Improved Player of the Year conversation is only getting stronger with each passing day. This was a night when the Celtics didn’t really have their collective mojo going, seemingly desperate for someone, anyone to provide a spark. In the third quarter, that was Jaylen Brown who went on an 8-0 scoring binge of his own as part of a 13-point fourth quarter. For the game, Brown had 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. 

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Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Kings, which tips off Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 3:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.