You would think it would get difficult to find new ways to gush over Jaylen Brown, and in one sense you’d be correct. How many different ways can we praise his ascension from complimentary rookie to full-fledged stardom? How his improved handles have helped him produce career-highs and reach the first of what will surely be many All-Star games?
But one way or another, Brown has routinely given writers like myself new material to go off of. It’s become an occurrence with ridiculous amounts of consistency for him to show the masses the absolute best of all the newfound abilities he now brings to the table as a full-fledged All-Star.
He needed just 29 minutes to record his first-ever 40 point outing. He’s posted career-highs in assists and 3-pointers — both 10 — at various points throughout the season.
If that list of statistical achievements sounds familiar, it’s because I highlighted it in a piece not even a month ago when Brown knocked down his career-high 10 triples against Orlando. He was at it again in Los Angeles to continue the good vibes emanating from a Celtics team that appears to be finding its groove at just the right time.
Brown played just over 32 minutes against the Lakers and scored 40 points. He took 20 shots and missed only three of them. The long and proud history of the Celtics franchise is littered with incredible if not improbable performances. None managed to supersede what Brown accomplished, becoming the first Celtic to ever score at least 40 points on 85 percent shooting since the NBA merger over 40 years ago.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Brown said after the game. “Celtics-Lakers matchup is a matchup that kids dream about being on the floor.”
It looked like Brown’s type of night early in the first quarter when he was responsible for 10 of Boston’s first 14 points that got them out to an early double-digit lead. He cut to the rim for a layup, knocked down a 3-pointer, took it coast-to-coast, and duped past Dennis Schroder before drawing a whistle and finishing through contact.
So many players go on some type of lengthy scoring binge en route to their big night. Think 20-point quarters or getting unconscionably hot from beyond the arc.
Brown didn’t rely on the 3-point shot in the way he did when he knocked down seven in his first 40-point outing against Memphis. He hoisted five triples and made three of them in this one. There was no onslaught of points that made you fully aware of the type of night Brown was in the midst of. He never scored more than 11 points in any of the four quarters.
The performance is best described as a series of punches the Lakers tried hard to withstand while fighting back from multiple double-digit deficits. But no amount of effort could probably ready one of the league’s top defenses even without its two best players for this type of improvisation.
Of course, Brown’s move to the bench with Boston holding a fourth-quarter lead as high as 27 left the door for LA to punch back, cutting the lead to five with just over a minute remaining. But Brown’s return immediately sunk the chances of the defending champions.
The simplicity with which Brown was able to re-enter the game and convert back-to-back layups to officially put the game out of reach was almost comical. No rust to shake off after sitting on the bench. No part of his hot hand cooled off while taking a breather.
It was that kind of game for Brown, whose play helped complete an undefeated three-game west coast swing with a 121-113 victory.
“Jaylen was just unreal tonight,” Brad Stevens said during his postgame presser. It was the only words he gave on the subject. Though no doubt focusing more on the blown lead, perhaps even Stevens has run out of ways to praise the ever-evolving play of a rapidly ascending star.