After an ugly third quarter, the Boston Celtics managed to pull out an overtime win over the Orlando Magic last night. While it was Robert Williams who stole the show against the Phoenix Suns on New Year’s Eve, it was Jaylen Brown who did so vs. Orlando in the first game of 2022 with a career-high 50 points.
In addition to his 50-bomb, Brown added 11 rebounds, four assists, a steal, and two blocks to his stat line. He shot 19-of-29 from the field and 5-of-10 from deep. Twenty-one of his points came in the fourth quarter when he took it upon himself to carry the Celtics on their comeback trail.
After the game, point guard Dennis Schroder made sure to congratulate Brown for an awesome performance. Although, in his eyes, it was only a matter of time that Brown hit this milestone.
“It’s about time that he scored 50. I mean, he always scores in the first half. When I was in health and safety protocols, I seen him score 25 or more in the first half, or 20, but then in the second half he just… But I mean this time, he did what he’s supposed to do.”
Head coach Ime Udoka also took the time to discuss Brown’s performance. He said that it’s all about letting the game come to him rather than trying to force the issue.
“With him, it’s really, not overthinking it. Taking what’s there in front of him… Just simplifying it and letting the game come to him. I think I told him that in Minnesota. He’s rushing a little bit, just let it come. You got the whole game to get to where you need to get to.”
Against the Timberwolves, Brown shot 8-of-24 from the field and 2-of-8 from three-point range. It was a rough night all around for the C’s, but Brown’s six turnovers and poor shooting splits really hurt them.
Brown’s long-time teammate Marcus Smart was asked about his growth from the start of his career up to now. He detailed the relationship he has with Brown and how far the All-Star has come.
“The growth with JB is very real. I think we’ve all witnessed it. I’ve been here for the whole part of his journey. I know it may not seem like it, but me and JB are closer than people probably think. We talk all the time and constantly just try to keep his confidence up.”
Smart has been teammates with Brown for six years now - Brown’s entire career. With everything the pair has been through, he’s had a front-row seat to Brown’s emergence into stardom.
The 50-point man himself also spoke to the media after the game. When asked about how he felt, the first thing he did was thank those who he felt made it possible.
“All praise to the most high for sure. Faith, consistency, hard work pays off. My teammates found me tonight and I knocked some shots down.”
Brown was asked about Udoka’s postgame comments regarding him “keeping it simple.” The 25-year-old had nothing but love for his rookie head coach.
“Ime has been great. Despite some of the bad games I might have had, bad reads I might have done, Ime has trusted me. Put the ball in my hands to make plays for myself and for my teammates. And I can’t do more than appreciate that.”
While the team’s turnover numbers weren’t ideal, Brown still had less than he did against the Timberwolves. In addition, he kept the ball moving fairly well. He only tallied four assists, but one was a timely dime to Al Horford late in the game, and Brown did a great job of keeping the offense flowing when he needed to.
Some players like to keep track of their point total throughout the game. But Brown was more focused on making a comeback than reaching 50 points. He said he didn’t even realize how many he had scored until late in the game.
“To be honest, I didn’t even realize until the last shot. Like when I had 47. Other than that I was just being as aggressive as I can be. Getting to the basket. I didn’t feel like those guys could stay in front of me… I wasn’t even really paying attention until it got to 45 or 47.”
Despite the amazing accolade, Brown’s main goal was clear - winning the game. After emphatically stating, “we just needed to f***ing win,” in his walk-off interview, Brown followed it up with this statement postgame.
“Just trying to figure it out. Leaning and growing with every opportunity. That’s what life is about beyond basketball. My teammates made it easy for me tonight. And I tried to make some reads, make it easy for them. And we came out and we got the win. That’s the most important thing. We wanted to leave tonight with a win.”
Boston is officially undefeated in 2022 and will now have a nice two-day break now before taking on the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. By then, Jayson Tatum will likely be back, but hopefully, Brown can continue to dominate.