With five minutes left in the first quarter of the Celtics’ Friday night win against Miami, Oshae Brissett checked in for his first regular season minutes as a member of the Boston Celtics. The team trailed 26-13.
It was another rough start to a highly-anticipated matchup against the Miami Heat, and a lively TD Garden crowd began to get flashbacks to last year’s Game 7.
Then, as Jaylen Brown would like to say, the energy shifted.
Oshae Brissett didn’t do anything spectacular in last night’s matchup — he finished with a modest stat line of 5 rebounds and 2 points in 14 minutes of action — but he brought a burst of life that the starting unit had lacked.
Head coach Joe Mazzulla admitted he initially planned to save Brissett for the second quarter, but recognized the team needed an energy boost. Needless to say, Brissett delivered.
Oshae Brissett immediately crashed the offensive glass and attacked loose balls, helping propel the team to a 10-0 run that cut the deficit to three by the end of the quarter.
Joe Mazzulla says Oshae Brissett's hustle plays in the first half were "tremendous." pic.twitter.com/SJdXVr3aWD— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) October 28, 2023
That energy was enough to salvage the lethargic start and allow the Celtics to take control of the ballgame. In the end, thanks to a spectacular Derrick White fourth quarter and strong performances by Jaylen Brown and Jrue Holiday, the Celtics defeated Miami 119-111, improving their record to 2-0 on the season.
After the game, Jayson Tatum credited Brissett for turning the slow start around.
“He was the sole reason that we got back into the game, and I told him that,” Tatum said. “He came right in, and we were kind of flat. His energy, his offensive rebounding, giving us second and third chance opportunities was big — and that’s his job. For him to come do that, to not play the last game and come in today and give us the spark to turn the game around, was huge. And that’s what I love about our team.”
"He was the sole reason that we got back into the game and I told him that."— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) October 28, 2023
Jayson Tatum credits Oshae Brissett for giving C's a spark vs. the Heat pic.twitter.com/zyYC8USYoB
Oshae Brissett was a beloved role player for the Indiana Pacers for the last three seasons. The 25-year-old holds career averages of 19.2 minutes, 7.4 points, and 4.2 rebounds. But Pacer fans fell in love with Brissett for his hustle and high-energy plays, always providing a boost when the team needed one.
Now, the Celtics get to benefit from having Brissett on the roster — and he’s ready to deliver.
“I know that for myself, I’ve got to come out there and do all the dirty work and do all the things that will give us that energy,” Brissett said after the game. “I like playing like that, I like getting the crowd into it, and that’s just me. I’m going to try to bring that every single night, no matter who we play — especially playing Miami, that’s definitely needed because of the type of team they are.”
Joe Mazzulla was thrilled with Brissett’s debut performance. “One thing we haven’t talked about is Oshae Brissett,” Mazzulla told reporters. “He didn’t play in Game 1 [against the Knicks] and he changed the game. That to me is what momentum is about. He came in, and he made a significant impact. He did his job at a high, high level.”
Brissett may not have a spot in the rotation every night; last night, for example, Luke Kornet didn’t see the court, which could change depending on match-ups and on-court needs. But as long as Brissett continues to excel as a spark-plug on the bench, he’s likely to continue seeing opportunities.
“That’s who I am as a player,” Brissett said. “Every night I’m going to try to do that no matter who we’re playing, no matter what night it is.”