The Boston Celtics took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Indiana Pacers Friday night behind an impressive all-around game by Jaylen Brown.
If the Boston Celtics are to go deep in the playoffs and potentially get to the NBA Finals, they will need other players to step up and compliment Kyrie Irving. So far in the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers, they are getting those big contributions offensively and defensively.
Look no further than third-year wing Jaylen Brown.
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In the absence of Marcus Smart, Brown has been re-inserted into the starting lineup and is making Celtics head coach Brad Stevens look pretty good for his decision. On Friday night, Jaylen Brown was basically flawless on the offensive end of the court.
Following a pretty quiet first two games of the series offensively, Brown showed off his offensive skills at Bankers Life Field House by scoring 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field. That included going 4-of-5 from 3-point range. On top of that, he pulled down seven rebounds while guarding sharp-shooter Bojan Bogdanovic.
As impressive as his shooting was in the Game 3 victory, Brown’s patience has been even more impressive through the first three games of the playoffs. He isn’t forcing shots and when he is not scoring, he is contributing with solid defense and showing off his play-making skills.
Yes, Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum are doing their thing in this playoff series, but it is Jaylen Brown who is really staring as the X-factor in this round, especially with Smart watching and cheering from the bench.
In all, Stevens was very impressed by his third-year player’s maturation on the offensive end.
"“He didn’t force anything that wasn’t there,” Stevens said following the game, as transcribed by Celtics.com. “I mean, the only shot he missed was that one at the end of the shot clock, great challenge by Myles Turner, in front of our bench.“And obviously he rebounded (seven boards) and he’s gotta guard Bogdanovic, which is a heck of a task, so I thought he played a good game.”"
Overall, the entire Boston Celtics team showed they can flip the switch and are playoff ready. There have been times they have struggled, but it is their response that has shown they are a different team than the one that slept walked through the regular season.
More impressively, it is the play from players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who are showing they can be effective in the playoffs with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward on the court. Both players led the team in last year’s playoff run and both players are doing their part to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Of course, this time around, they don’t have to be the guys leading the Boston Celtics. They are just two pieces to a machine finding its power at just the right time. Coincidentally, both Brown and Tatum made hefty predictions about this team. Both players are doing their part in making sure those predictions come true.