Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown played just 8:33 in the second half of Boston’s 117-112 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, and he sat the bench for the entire fourth quarter as Kemba Walker roasted Boston into its eighth loss of the season.
After the game, Brown told the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn he was okay with the decision to sit him, as long as it helped the team progress.
Jaylen Brown told me he was OK with sitting the 4Q, as long as it helps the team’s progress. But he said he felt as good as he had all season in his 19 minutes. #Celtics
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) November 20, 2018
The only complication: Brown, who has struggled at times this season, had perhaps his best three quarters of the year. He attacked the basket hard, finishing around the rim with a couple of difficult layups. He buried one of his three 3-point attempts. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Brown was 4-for-6 with 10 points, two rebounds and two assists.
And that was where he stayed: The Celtics opted for lineups featuring Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier down the stretch, as Kemba Walker roasted them for 43 points and rallied Charlotte back from a 98-88 deficit with 10 minutes remaining for the win.
All the while, Brown remained on the bench. It’s unclear whether his length and athleticism would have made a difference matched up against Walker, who was unconscious by the fourth quarter (Walker finished with 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting in the fourth). The bigger problem for Boston appeared to be the help defense in the pick-and-roll — Al Horford failed to close hard enough to Walker behind the 3-point line, and Stevens noted that Boston needed to get around screens harder in the final period as well.
But for Brown, who has had a frustrating start to the season (10.9 points per game on 36.2 percent shooting), Monday’s loss may sting a little extra. He averaged 18 points per game on 39.3 percent shooting from behind the arc in the playoffs last season, and he might understandably believe he deserves more than the 19 minutes he was afforded by the Celtics on Monday, even though he was given an opportunity to start.
None of that is what Brown is saying, of course. He’s saying all the right things, and that makes sense — he’s a smart guy who understands what is at stake over the next couple years. But Brown is undeniably talented, and sitting in the fourth quarter as Walker burned his team down to the foundation might understandably be frustrating for the third-year wing.