Jaylen Brown and the art of a superstar performance

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics seemed set for a dismal start to the new year yesterday when they were taking on the Orlando Magic. They faced a 96-82 deficit with four minutes left, and were seemingly set to add to their tally of disappointing losses this season. Jaylen Brown had other plans though.

Brown kept the Celtics alive to begin the fourth quarter, and then led a furious comeback over the remaining four minutes to help send the game to overtime. When the dust finally settled, Boston scraped out a 116-111 overtime victory over the lowly seven-win Magic, with 50 of those points coming from the hands of Brown.

Typically, a game like this would draw the ire of most Celtics fans, as they easily should have put away Orlando in just 48 minutes, regardless of who Boston had on the court. But Brown’s heroics ensured that wouldn’t be the case. Even though the C’s struggled mightily for most of the night, Brown made sure this game would not end up in the loss column.

This is the type of performance the Celtics have been missing all season long. Time and time again they have watched leads crumble away in the fourth quarter, as opposing teams handed the game over to their star players, and let them go to work. And for once, Boston was the team doing that to someone else rather than watching it happen to them.

Jaylen Brown’s 50 point performance was just what the Boston Celtics needed

It’s been a confusing season for the Boston Celtics so far, and this win over Orlando, while exciting to witness, doesn’t exactly change things. The fact that Brown was required to do so much to lead the C’s to victory over one of the worst teams in the league is a bit embarrassing, but that’s besides the point. This game proved that Boston does in fact have superstars who can not only lead furious comebacks, but close out games when they finally get a lead as well.

Brown helped keep his team alive throughout the entire game, but superstars in this league can step up down the stretch and lead their team to victory, and that’s exactly what Brown did here. Brown scored 24 of his 50 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, so pretty much half of his output came with the game on the line. The solution to Boston’s offensive struggles became very clear during that late stretch; give the ball to Brown, and let him go to work.

And that was the key. Brown got the ball, and he didn’t dilly-dally. He attacked the paint possession after possession, and there was no one on Orlando who could stop him. He mixed in a few three pointers and midrange jumpers along the way (including an ill-advised pull-up middy on the potential game-winner at the end of the fourth), but Brown got himself rolling by getting to the rim pretty much everytime he got the ball.

It’s easier said than done, but Brown accomplished something in this short stretch of basketball that the C’s just cannot seem to figure out this season. When you can get the ball in the paint and score consistently, that allows your offense the freedom to do pretty much whatever it wants. Once the Magic diverted more attention to Brown, he dutifully passed the baton to his teammates, with Dennis Schroder scoring eight of the team’s 16 overtime points to seal the deal.

As you can tell considering Brown scored nearly half of Boston’s points, he didn’t get a ton of help throughout this game. But once he jumpstarted a late rally, his teammates finally woke up and decided to help him out.

They played with a passion and desire to win over the final nine minutes of game time that were missing for the previous 44. If you don’t believe me, go back to the top of this page and look at how pumped up Brown is after he hits the three pointer that brought him to 50 points, and gave the Celtics a commanding six point lead with just a minute left in overtime.

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It was a superstar performance, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about that. It doesn’t matter that the Magic are a vastly inferior team, Brown did what he had to do to get his team a victory, and this squad is much better off as a result.

The Boston Celtics still have a ton of talent on their roster, they just need to remember that themselves. Brown’s superstar performance should go a long way in helping this team get their mojo back, and who knows, maybe they can pull off a nice little run to kick off 2022.