It was the Jaylen Brown Show and there was no stopping him.
Runners, step-back jumpers, spot up three's, fadeaways, three-quarter court bounce passes for transition buckets. When the kids say “he was in his bag”, that’s what they mean. A variety of moves and all of them were successful for Brown on Wednesday night in the Celtics runaway 126-109 win vs Memphis Grizzlies.
Poor Dillon Brooks. He was burnt to a crisp by the red hot JB.
With 2:50 to go in the third quarter, Brown checked out of the ball game with 34 points, tying the career high he set last December against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“At first I had no idea,” Brown said when asked about his career high and where he was at late in the 3rd quarter. “Then towards the end of the game when I got subbed out like two or three minutes left in the third quarter, they were telling me “Dang, you’re right at your career high”, which is only 34 points. I gave Brad [Stevens] a little wink like “can I get two more minutes?””
Brown checked in 39 seconds after he went to the bench, determined to top his career high in points.
“He let me go back in. With that type of responsibility or whatever he gave me, I wanted to make sure that I still played basketball the right way. It still just happened to fall,” Brown said.
Brown added eight points in that final two-plus after he checked back in to finish with 42 points. A night he and his teammates won’t forget.
“Obviously He had his shot really going. He hit some really tough ones at the end of the second quarter. Even the ones he hit the third [quarter] I thought were pretty well contested and tough,” Stevens said.
Brown has always played aggressive, and when his 3-point shot is falling like it did Wednesday, he is unstoppable. Credit to Brown’s teammates unselfishness, a very balanced effort as no player had more than 4 assists, to find him when they knew he was cooking.
“It’s amazing. Super happy for him. Big night. He was on fire. When a guy’s hitting like that, you got to keep feeding him,” Tatum said after the game.
The Celtics 2020 portion of the schedule is already done. Boston will visit Detroit for two games this weekend.
LEFTOVER FROM THE NOTEBOOK
● Payton Pritchard has been awesome. This kid’s poise is incredible. His ability to get a defender on his hip with a dribble hold and play off of it has created so many easy buckets for him and teammates. He will be the backup point guard over Jeff Teague by year’s end.
● Are you still wondering why Aaron Nesmith is not playing? He’s lost on defense. I don’t think Stevens trusts him right now to play legitimate minutes. I keep going back to this quote from Stevens after the preseason opener. “There were a couple times I called a defensive coverage or offensive play and they looked at me sideways. They didn’t know what I was saying.” That quote seems more about Nesmith than it ever was about Pritchard
● I wonder if Brown had heard the rumors about a potential trade for James Harden -- Brown, Marcus Smart and picks.
● The Timelord Robert Williams continues to play impactful minutes off the bench. Six points and 10 points, including four offensive rebounds, off the bench in just 22 minutes.
● Daniel Theis had his best game of the season -- 12 points, five rebounds in 19 minutes -- a game which did not see a Celtics double big starting lineup of Theis and Tristan Thompson (out - right hamstring strain recovery)
● Carsen Edwards was his usual confident self off the bench, again in garbage time. There nine points for the second year guard, going 4-of-8 overall and 1 of 3 from deep, in just eight minutes.
● Every Celtic scored, including Tacko Fall, who hit both of his free throw attempts