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Foul trouble overshadows Jaylen Brown’s stellar performance

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Brown put up a career-high in assists, but foul problems kept him off the floor against the Pacers down the stretch.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

For Jaylen Brown, he never got the chance to put the finishing touches on another exceptional performance Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers.

Brown’s night ended prematurely in the 122-117 defeat for the Boston Celtics at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, as the fourth-year swingman fouled out with 1:59 left in regulation with the game still in the balance.

Brown, who flirted with a triple-double by recording 18 points, 8 rebounds and a career-high 8 assists, thought the complexion of the contest would have changed if he could have avoided picking up his sixth and final foul when he bit on a Malcolm Brogdon pump-fake.

In the final two minutes, Brown watched from the bench as Boston’s offense stumbled and the Celtics fell to 0-5 on the road against teams that currently have winning records, according to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.

“I think everybody was in foul trouble,” said Brown as Daniel Theis also fouled out and Grant Williams came close with five fouls. “That’s one of my first times being in foul trouble in a long time. Just have to come out and adjust to it. It happens. Unfortunate. I think we could have won that game if I stayed in it.”

It was a polar opposite beginning for Brown, who was engaged from the start and displayed his playmaking ability. In the first quarter alone, Brown tied his career mark for assists by dishing out five helpers as he gave Kemba Walker the fuel to embark on a 44-point performance.

Brown also provided a highlight-reel dunk on a fast break in the third quarter to yet again showcase his elite athleticism.

Brown came up with a couple timely buckets in his limited fourth-quarter minutes, including tying the game on a drive with 2:22 left before fouling out on Indiana’s ensuing posession.

The fouls may not have hampered Brown’s play offensively, but it made an impact on his defense. Brown picked up his fifth foul with 7:19 remaining, but had to return to action less than a minute later when Gordon Hayward exited the contest due to a blow to the nose.

Moments later and weary of collecting another foul, Brown basically let Doug McDermott drive past him from the corner and McDermott’s hard take resulted in Theis earning his fifth foul to put the C’s in even more of a bind.

For Brown and the rest of the Celtics, the loss to the Pacers illustrated how they need to do a better job of finding the right balance of playing aggressive defense without fouling because at the end, it cost them with not having a key player available.

“(Indiana) set the tone for the game,” Brown said. “They were a physical team and we didn’t match it. We were trying to play from behind and the refs were just calling the game accordingly. We got to do a better job of setting the tone physicality (wise), especially with a small team. We got to do a better job of playing physical without fouling.”