BOSTON –Jaylen Brown stationed himself on the right wing midway through the third quarter Wednesday night, his focus set on the Celtics’ hoop at TD Garden. With the basketball clutched by his hip, there was only one obstacle that stood in his path: the bulky body of Chicago Bulls forward Jabari Parker.
Brown hesitated toward his left, allowing Parker to bite as he lowered the ball to his knee, before exploding along the baseline toward the cup. The 6-foot-7 Celtics wing muscled his way past Parker, only to be met by an even larger foe in Wendell Carter Jr., who had left his man, Daniel Theis, in order to protect the rim.
But Brown already had his eyes set on the prize, so he rose up against the 6-foot-10 rookie big man, absorbed the contact, and banked an impressive layup off the glass to give the Celtics a commanding, 68-47 lead.
As soon as the shot fell through the net, NBC Sports Boston color commentator Tommy Heinsohn issued his stamp of approval from center court, exclaiming, “Boy, that’s his game. Go to the rim, baby. Go to the rim.”
Which is exactly what Brown had been doing all night long.
That particular bucket, seven minutes into the third frame, marked Brown’s fourth successful finish of the night at the rim. And each of his drives made a huge impact in sparking Boston’s offense to a 111-82 blowout win.
“I think it’s very important,” Al Horford said of Brown’s aggressiveness against the Bulls. “I think he did a great job tonight of picking his spots, reading and making the right play. And when he plays like that, we just look so much better.”
So much better than how they’ve looked of late, that’s for sure.
Fresh off of a 1-4 road trip, the Celtics were looking to regain some offensive consistency back on their home court Wednesday night, and Brown took it upon himself to help right the ship.
Having contributed to his team’s recent woes with just 16 points on 6-of-24 shooting during the last two games of the trip, Brown decided to spend a few overtime hours in the film room to dissect the root of his shortcomings.
In rolling back the tape, he found that, “Sometimes I’m in a rush or I’m even being overaggressive. But now I’m just taking my time in making the right reads.”
Brown made plenty of right reads Wednesday night, leading him to a game-high 18-point effort on an 8-of-14 shooting clip from the field.
“The ball will find you if you’re playing the right way,” said Brown. “So (I) just (have to) continue to do that on both sides of the ball – being dominant on defense and aggressive on offense – and everything else will take care of itself.”
This is the attitude that coach Brad Stevens wants Brown to play with on a nightly basis.
“Jaylen can get to the rim at any time,” claimed the Celtics’ head coach. “I think the biggest thing is just continuing to not only finish with strength, but also just continuing to make the right reads. And I think he’s improved in that.”
The key to that improvement?
“Just getting older and more mature,” answered Brown. “The game slows down as you start to garner basketball experience. This is my third year, so hopefully I’m not still making the same mistakes I was making my rookie year. I just take the game for what it gives me and try to make the right plays.”
Brown made all of the right plays Wednesday night, as he helped to spark the Celtics’ offense, all while snapping the team out of its losing spell. He’ll look to maintain his aggressive play moving forward, knowing that the team’s offense is at its best when he’s attacking the rim relentlessly.