On the heels of their narrow loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics had to turn around and get back home to take on the Toronto Raptors on the second night of a back-to-back. Without Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart, the Celtics took on a fully-healthy Raptors squad fighting to stay in the playoff picture as the regular season ticks closer to midnight.
Despite being shorthanded, the Celtics pulled out a 97-93 win on Wednesday over the Raptors, and by doing so locked themselves into the two seed with two games left in their regular season. Malcolm Brogdon (29 points, 10-of-19 shooting, 5 rebounds, three assists) and Jaylen Brown (25 points, 12-of-29 shooting, 11 rebounds, 5 assists) paced the Celtics in their win, and with games against the Raptors on Friday and Hawks on Sunday, can take their foot off the gas and look to rest some before the play-in tournament kicks off.
Before the game, the Boston Celtics named Jaylen Brown the recipient of the Red Auerbach Award for the 2022-23 season, an honor given to the player who most embodies what it means to be a Boston Celtic. Brown has been having a career season, and his leadership has been essential to Boston’s success this season as he’s made his push towards All-NBA.
Jaylen Brown on winning the 2023 Red Auerbach Award:— Celtics on CLNS (@CelticsCLNS) April 6, 2023
I put my everything into this team, I put my everything into this city and organization since I've been here ... I was grateful #NBA #Celtics
Full Interview: https://t.co/81OKLeLymO
⚡️by @FDSportsbook pic.twitter.com/sAEa1IJDaG
“Extremely grateful,” said Brown on what it meant to win the award. “I think Red Auerbach had a vision for this organization and then so many years later, you see that vision still being maintained. I think it’s amazing and I’m grateful to be a part of it, especially when you are highlighting things that necessarily don’t have to do with stats or analytics.”
“Leadership on and off the floor, being able to receive an award for something that doesn’t necessarily...see some type of value for, that hasn’t always come up in a stat sheet,” said Brown. “I appreciate stuff like that. I put my everything into this team, I put my everything into this city and organization since I’ve been here. So, to see or to get that award, I thought meant a lot. I was grateful.”
Coach Mazzulla on Jaylen Brown’s playmaking: “He’s just playing with a lot of poise and patience and he’s taking what the defense gives him.”— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 6, 2023
A lot has been said and speculated on over the past few weeks concerning Jaylen Brown after two interview pieces threw his future in Boston into question and how happy he may be with the team, especially after the Kevin Durant rumors swirled this past offseason. Since those articles dropped, the overall tone and energy around the Celtics has seemed to slant further towards togetherness, and mainly showing appreciation, respect, and love for Brown.
Joe Mazzulla has spoken glowingly on his improvements this season. Malcolm Brogdon and Grant Williams have both chimed in to support Brown’s case for All-NBA, with Brogdon going as far as to say that Brown is the best shooting guard in the NBA. Jayson Tatum spoke and made abundantly clear that he and his teammates know how important Brown is, and how vital he is to the team’s success.
Celtics star Jaylen Brown sits down with @Stadium: “I get why people try to break up duos because so far, (Jayson and I) have been incredibly successful. At this point, we’re part of each other’s destiny.” On rookie year lessons, headlocks with Marcus Smart, sacrifice, much more. pic.twitter.com/WlnrlFh9f6— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 4, 2023
After a recent interview with The Athletic’s Shams Charania released a few days ago, Jaylen Brown spoke noticeably more optimistic about the team, as well as saying that he and Tatum’s futures were tied to one another like destiny. Tack on the Red Auerbach Award, and it becomes even more clear that the Celtics organization is doing all it can to offer Brown affirmation and appreciation.
There’s also been plenty support for Brown’s push for All-NBA, because regardless of wherever voters decide to slot him, his case is about as iron-clad as it could be at this point after putting together a stunning post-All-Star break run. Make him feel appreciated, and keep this locker room as tight-knit as possible before they try to take care of unfinished business.