BOSTON -- As the unexpected losses piled up, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens naturally fielded a ton of questions about his players struggles with many centered around Jaylen Brown.
Brown, the team’s No. 2 scorer to Kyrie Irving a year ago, has seen his numbers dip in just about every statistical category-- which shouldn’t be all that surprising when you consider his role with this team is more fluid now with Gordon Hayward back in the mix after missing all but the first five minutes of last season.
“I don’t think it’s fair to peg the slow start on one player,” Stevens said. “And I think that certainly I’ve gotten a lot of questions about Jaylen, just because of everybody’s expectations for Jaylen are as high as his are. At the end of the day, he’s not going to be perfect; he’s going to have his ups and downs, but he stays the course, he gets ready, and he’s – everybody’s going to go through those slumps, until you come out of them.”
It appears that time is now for Brown who delivered a strong performance in Boston’s 114-93 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
Brown led all Celtics with 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting, the latest in what has been a strong set of games by the third-year swing player.
In Boston’s last five games, Brown is averaging 17.0 points on 63.5 percent shooting from the field and 46.7 percent from 3-point range.
His play of late has been closer to what both he and the Celtics were hoping he could deliver for the team this season, a season in which Brown has gone from being a starter to a valued role player off the bench to occasionally filling in with the first unit (as was the case Friday night with Marcus Morris out with a neck injury) if someone else gets hurt.
“He’s come out of this well, and has really strung together a good couple of weeks of basketball, and we’re going to need him to continue to be that for us,” Stevens said. “But it was great to be able to, like – (Marcus) Morris, we found out Morris was out and bang, you can throw him right in and not quite as big, but you’re just as versatile defensively.”
And like most players this season, Brown is also less than at full strength health-wise. He has been dealing with a bone contusion injury in his right hand for about a month now, an injury that he has continued to play through despite the pain and discomfort.
But you won’t hear Brown complaining about it, other than the over-zealous fan who was a little too fired up when high-fiving Brown after the win over Dallas.
“The fan smacked my hand, super hard,” said Brown, grinning. “That hurt but … it definitely had some pain. But wins kind of subsides some of that pain. So, continue to win I’ll be alright.”
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