After losing frustrating games to Houston and Utah, the Boston Celtics went into their Tuesday night matchup against the Sacramento Kings with the hopes of closing their road trip with a 4-2 record. With the return of Robert Williams and Marcus Smart, Boston pulled out a convincing 132-109 win over Sacramento led by Jayson Tatum’s 36 points, tying Larry Bird for the most 30-point games in a season in Celtics franchise history. Jaylen Brown had an efficient 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc along with 5 rebounds and four assists.
On top of that, Brown and Tatum both scored 25 points or more in the same game for the 66th time this season, the most games by a duo in Celtics history, passing John Havlicek and Jo Jo White. It’s remarkable what Boston’s two stars can do when playing cohesively together, and when they bring their best effort, the rest of the team follows suit. After some shaky games, the Celtics win over the Kings came at a perfect time, and served as a reminder of what this team is capable of when they move the ball, communicate, and play the right way.
Jaylen Brown has been on a hot streak since the All-Star break, and has been a tone setter on offense for the Celtics, shooting 50.9% from the field on 21 shots per game, including 40.2% from beyond the arc on 6.3 threes a game. He’s playing some of his best basketball of the season, and at a time when Boston has needed him desperately, especially while the team has navigated injuries and Jayson Tatum has struggled on offense.
With the regular season winding down and the playoffs inch closer and closer, two interviews with Jaylen Brown have been released, one from The New York Times with Sopan Deb and another from The Ringer with Logan Murdock.
In both pieces, Brown talked about his time with the Celtics, the issues of being a black athlete in Boston, and his future with the team with free agency looming next offseason. He addressed some toxic members of the Celtics fanbase and taking things to a personal level when the team struggles, and now questions seem to be mounting around whether or not Brown will stay after his contract is up next summer.
Jaylen Brown was noncommittal when asked about his future with Boston. pic.twitter.com/7jqIP6Oeth— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 21, 2023
If Brown gets an All-NBA nod this year, he’ll become supermax eligible this offseason, which changes the landscape dramatically in Boston’s favor. But there’s still no guarantees, and now both Brown and the Celtics have some level of damage control to do. Following the big win over the Kings, Jaylen took some time to address his now public comments.
“I feel great,” said Brown after the game. “I’m on a 50-win team right now that you can’t take for granted. Tonight was the 50th win, and right now, I’m focused on helping to lead my team for another playoff run. In terms of speculation et cetera, I can’t speculate on anything above what I’m doing right now.”
“I think sometimes when people write articles, they get taken out of context,” Brown continued. “Especially when writers have their own agendas or whatever. So, for me personally, I’m thinking about clarifying some of the things that have been recently said. But other than that, I’m just focused on my team. I’m focused on playing basketball and winnings games.”
In all fairness, Brown has a right to feel the way he feels, and it will be interesting to see what he clarifies down the line if he chooses to do so. He has every right to go to free agency and test the waters if he wants to, and no matter how small of a sect of the fanbase is toxic, now is not the time to invalidate Brown’s statements or feelings for the city of Boston or its fans.
Ultimately, the goal is winning a championship, and that’s what Brown’s focus is on for the time being. If all things work in Boston’s favor, winning fixes everything, he gets All-NBA, and Brown and Tatum get to terrorize the NBA together for at least the next five years.