INDIANAPOLIS — Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown will be available for Saturday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, according to Brad Stevens.
Stevens does not expect Brown’s minutes to be restricted.
Brown told reporters at shootaround he planned to play, but Stevens refused to say for certain until his pre-game availability.
“It’s bearable,” Brown said at shoot around. “Before I felt like I would have been forcing it to try and play. I was in a lot of pain for no reason. Now I feel I can at least go out there.”
Why was it so important to Brown that he play?
“Any time I want to play, any time we have a game,” Brown said. “I love basketball. Anytime I have a chance I want to play. I’ve played through worse. As soon as I’m healthy, as soon as I have the OK. Can’t wait.”
Brown’s primary matchup will likely be Pacers star Victor Oladipo. After a breakout season last year, Oladipo is averaging 22.3 points per game on 38.5 percent 3-point shooting through nine games, in which Indiana is 9-3.
“Ain’t nobody running from Vic,” Brown said. “He’s a great challenge, and I embrace that challenge. I want to come back. I like those challenges.”
Other pre-game notes:
– Brad Stevens was asked what phase Gordon Hayward is in, after his minutes increased by a tick.
“He’s in the increase-by-a-tick phase,” Stevens said. “He’s not going to get to 30 minutes in the next couple games. We’ll just keep evaluating him week to week. It’s a long-term plan, based on getting back to not only playing one game but 82 games. He probably is pretty frustrated by it at times, but he does a good job not showing it. But yeah, he’ll be in that 25-27 range.”
– For both Stevens and Hayward, Saturday’s game was a homecoming. Stevens said he hasn’t talked to his former Butler star about being back in their home state.
“(Hayward) brought his wife and his girls, but we both try to keep it as focused on the game as possible and really enjoy coming back,” Stevens said. “It’s always great to be back, but really enjoy coming back when we get a chance in the summer to get with friends and all that.”
– After hoisting 55 3-pointers in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Stevens said the Celtics would rather get layups and dunks, but most teams are trying to take away those opportunities.
When that happens, 3-pointers can be the most efficient shots, especially given the pace of the game.
“The way the game is played, it’s small, it’s fast, teams get a lot of shots up period, the pace is unbelievable,” Stevens said. “I did a study, I believe it was ’14-15, we were like third or fourth in pace in the league, and last year we went the exact same amount of possessions and were 26th. It’s just changed quite a bit. We don’t want to do that by design. We want to shoot layups, but the other night that was what was available.”
The Celtics and Pacers tip off at 7:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston.