Who is that man in the black mask? Well, it isn’t Jaylen Brown…anymore. In Sunday night’s Game 4 win in Atlanta, the Boston Celtics All-Star took off the mask and helped lead his team to a commanding 3-1 lead over the Hawks.
Following a 15-game performance in Game 3, Brown started off Game 4 struggling from the floor and not looking like the Jaylen Brown we are all use to. So, what did he do?
In what should be considered a symbolic moment, Brown took off the protective face mask he first revealed at the 2023 NBA All-Star Game and turned a 1-for-7 start to the game into a 31-point performance on 12-of-22 shooting.
Most importantly, whenever a big play was needed in the 129-121 victory Brown seemed to be involved.
Celtics star Jaylen Brown returned to true form in Game 4
Whether it was timely shot making or nice assists to Robert Williams III down the stretch, the unmasked version of Brown was very involved in the game. Though the Celtics All-Star could also put blame on a cut on his hand, chucking the mask seemed to help his mindset which translated onto the court.
"“Maybe it was all in my head,” Brown said following the game, via MassLive.com. “I just needed a different look. I just felt like to start the game I didn’t like the looks that I got so I just needed something to switch it up a little bit. And as soon as I took it off things started to turn around a little bit.”"
While the mask looked pretty cool, Celtics fans would rather have the JB they are familiar with on the court. That is a player, when combined with Jayson Tatum, represent one of the best (if not the best) duos in all of basketball when both are on their game.
Although both Brown and Tatum weren’t flawless, they combined for 62 points and impacted the game in other ways. With Brown, it was his energy and playmaking and with Tatum, it was his defense and intensity. If both players bring that to the table in Game 5 back at TD Garden, the series will be over minutes into the game.
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As far as Brown and the mask. After the 31-point performance, he said it took a while to get use to and didn’t change his aggressive nature. But in that game and in that moment, he felt like he needed to change something to get back to himself and help the Celtics win.
"“I don’t know what it was,” Brown said. “I needed to change my shoes, wipe my hands off, take the mask off. Whatever I needed to do, I just needed to help my team get a win. And that’s what I was trying to do.”"
Now, taking care of business back at home is a must for Brown and the Boston Celtics. With the Philadelphia 76ers resting and waiting for the second-round matchup, the team needs to put Trae Young and the Hawks away on Tuesday night.
With Brown being unmasked and getting his touch back, another strong performance is in the cards, especially with the opportunity to clip his hometown team to help the current home team advance convincingly.