On Thursday night, Jaylen Brown had two free throws with six seconds left trailing by a point to the New York Knicks. He missed them both.
Two nights later against the Los Angeles Lakers, redemption knocked on his door.
“It’s funny how life works, just one game later. I knew I would get that opportunity again, but I didn’t know it was going to be the very next game. You step up to the line, you trust yourself, and you do what you gotta do,” Brown said after scoring 20 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter and overtime combined, including this and-1 to send the rivalry to an extra five minutes of basketball.
“You don’t let one game define you. You don’t let one moment define you. Life is about how you respond. I look at it as a challenge. You learn to appreciate those moments because they spark something in you to be more focused, more locked in and you have to trust and believe in yourself even more.”
After missing a week and three games with left abductor tightness, Brown has looked a little rusty, including an 8-for-22 subpar performance in that Knicks game. And with an opportunity to again send the game into overtime after Patrick Beverly hit him on the head on an offensive rebound putback, Brown stepped to the line with a clear mind and a full heart.
“Nothing, to be honest. It was clear as day. Locked in. Focused on winning. There was no doubt in my mind,” Brown said of the most crucial make at the free throw line. He was 9-for-11 for the game.
Moments after Brown tied the game, the officiating crew missed an obvious call on LeBron James’ final drive in regulation.
“The officiating was a little up and down. They let us play through stuff and then they called it tight. so we had to keep adjusting to it, but at the end of the day, the players decided that game,” Brown said after getting whistled for his 5th foul to open the 4th quarter and returning with just seven minutes remaining.
“We made plays down the stretch. They made plays down the stretch. I thought it was a good game. It was probably one of the greater games in our recent Lakers-Celtics matchup and I’m happy we came up on top.”