When Gordon Hayward fell to the ground, with his ankle bent at a 45 degree angle, many Celtics fans assumed the season was lost. It especially seemed that way once Cleveland had a 16 point lead at the half. However, Jaylen Brown had other plans.
The second year wing from Cal had his breakout game, as he was forced to play more minutes than expected (39) with the Hayward injury and the absence of Marcus Morris due to an ankle injury.
He made those minutes count.
LeBron vs. Jaylen Brown
LeBron: 29 points, 16 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 blocks, 12/19 FGM,
Jaylen: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, pic.twitter.com/K41XEeIgZd
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 18, 2017
Brown finished with 25 points and six rebounds, but more importantly, his presence was felt on the defensive end. He tallied two steals, but the on-ball pressure he provided to force turnovers was essential in the Celtics’ comeback effort. The Celtics turned an 18 point deficit into a one point deficit during the third, and their defensive effort (led by Brown) was the main reason for that.
Brown was seen diving into the stands, poking balls loose, and making the extra effort to win the game consistently in the second half. His energy was contagious for the team. When he started hitting three pointers too? That is when it got scary for Cleveland.
Jaylen Brown ? pic.twitter.com/9ALsoj3FXZ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 18, 2017
If Brown can play like he did in the second half consistently, he can make up for some of what Hayward could have brought to the Celtics. He still needs to work on his shooting, and some decision making too (He had three turnovers). If he can clean that up, and continue bringing defensive energy and pushing the pace in transition, the Celtics can stay afloat as an Eastern Conference contender.
Celtics fans have the right to be saddened by Hayward’s injury, but there is still hope for a top four seed. The improved play of Brown will become pivotal to the team’s success, and when Morris returns from his injury, the team will have more depth, so he does not have to play 39 minutes per game.
So while the number one seed is not reachable, a home court playoff series is very much a possibility for Brad Stevens’ squad.
Kemba Walker Informs Hornets He Will Sign with Celtics
According to the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell, Walker has told the Hornets that he pans to signed with the Celtics once free agency kicks off.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Walker will ink a four-year, $141 million contract with Boston.
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Boston Celtics superstar guard and soon-to-be free agent may have his next destination all squared away.
Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, was a Nets fan growing up.
If the Nets do land Irving, it is expected that they will be in the running for Golden State Warriors’ superstar Kevin Durant.
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