Your Morning Dump… Where shhhhhhhh, Jaylen Brown is playing incredibly well
Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“I’m having fun out there,” he said.
And that more than anything else, speaks to the comfort level that Brown is steadily trending towards as he continues to adjust to coming off the bench after spending most of last season and the early portion of this season with the first unit.
Brown led all scorers on Wednesday with 24 points, the second time this season he has tallied 20 or more points in back-to-back games.
He’ll look for the three-peat on Friday when the Celtics hit the road to face the New York Knicks.
To hear Brown talk about being happy on the floor, is great not only for him emotionally but it’s also a positive for a Celtics team that will need him to continue his strong play if the team’s goal – get to the NBA Finals – has a legit shot of coming to fruition.
NBC Sports Boston — Celtics winning and Jaylen Brown is ‘having fun out there’
I’m going to take a break from our regularly scheduled, Anthony Davis rumor-filled Morning Dumps to talk about the oft-maligned, under appreciated Jaylen Brown.
The most we’ve really talked about Jaylen all year is when Jackie MacMullan psychoanalyzed him back in December. Her deep dive, as always, was incredibly insightful, wonderfully written and uniquely engaging, but as I read it I couldn’t help but think aloud, “oh man, this is going to wreck Jaylen Brown the basketball player.”
Obviously I’m not in the dude’s head so I can’t sit here and proclaim I was right, but Brown, already displaying unevenness in his play, went into a tailspin just after the article was published. Jaylen is a thinker — that shows in his thirst for knowledge outside of basketball, but it also shows at the free throw line where the game slows down, but his mind clearly doesn’t. He had to have read that article, where his teammates, coach and general manager all took turns discussing Jaylen’s idiosyncrasies, his potential as a basketball player and what sometimes holds him back. I think it messed with him, and we can all agree something wasn’t right when he then hit the court.
But lately? As the Davis rumors swirl, the Kyrie rumors swirl with them, and as the basketball world wonders whether Danny Ainge has the cajones to throw future all-star Jayson Tatum into an AD trade offer, Jaylen Brown is getting comfortable.
And what does comfortable look like? It looks like a future all-star in his own right. It even looks like, on the right night, a trade piece on par with Tatum in an AD trade or, if AD comes and Tatum goes, it looks like the third piece of a Celtics Big 3 in the 2020s.
Let’s be honest, Jaylen is doing some things on offense we wish Jayson Tatum would (and maybe we just wish he could because he can’t yet) do: Use strength, athleticism and quickness to get to the rim and draw contact. It just so happens that JB is now finishing at the rim with more consistency. If he’s not taking shots at the rim, he’s taking shots from the beyond the arc. And lately, they’re going in with the type of regularity they did during last season’s playoff run. When’s the last time you saw Brown take a long 2?
I’m going to stop here, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m calling Jaylen Brown the Celtics crown jewel, either in terms of what the Cs future looks like, or maybe the Pelicans’ future, but as we glom onto the Anthony Davis, Kyrie and Tatum stories, let’s show love for Brown the same way we complained about him earlier in the season.
Last thing… Tim Bontemps wrote about Gordon Hayward’s need to take a step forward in order for the Celtics to get where they need to go. Obviously, that would be great, but what if Jaylen Brown is taking that step in his place? I’d argue that if we get this Jaylen more often, the Cs are a Finals threat with or without the old Hayward.
Herald — Jaylen Brown steps up, leads Celtics
On page 2, where January turns to February, and the road beckons
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The Celtics were home nearly the entire month, save one somewhat disastrous three-game stretch and a game in Atlanta that Kyrie Irving was forced to help the team claw through to avoid another embarrassing stretch.
The rest of the month? Smooth sailing on the parquet floor. The Celtics went 10-1 at home in January, including a rousing win over the Toronto Raptors. Their only loss was a four-point defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, who have been obliterating opponents — their net rating over the last 10 games is a staggering 18.0. Boston’s net rating in the month of January: A sterling 9.8.
But the home and road numbers paint two very different stories this season. The Celtics are 21-6 at TD Garden and 11-13 away from it. At home, Boston’s net rating is 10.6. On the road? 2.2. The Celtics have yet to record a marquee victory in another building, which is a strange juxtaposition against last year when the team’s road record was actually slightly better than their record at home.
“I have no clue,” Marcus Smart said. “I think if we knew what that was we wouldn’t be having these woes and these struggles. But it’s part of the game, and I think that’s what it is if I had to get a reason I’d say it’s just part of the game. We play 82 games in the regular season. It’s a long season and things happen.”
Mass Live — Boston Celtics don’t understand reason behind home/road disparity
The Celtics played 11 home games and 4 road games in January. That was helpful, because the Cs are 21-6 at home and 11-13 on the road.
You know what’s not helpful? The Celtics don’t have another month with more home games in it than road games. So they better figure this thing out.
I’m hoping the Celtics current run of 7 out of 8 wins has less to do with an absurd 7 of those 8 games being at the Garden and more to do with the Celtics just happening to figure their shit out during that same time period.
January was about as friendly a scheduling month as a team gets in the Association. February and March especially will be less forgiving.
And finally, the Cs are off tonight, but it’s a good one to scoreboard watch
First off, disregard Nets/Spurs, I was too lazy to cut that one out. I think you can also disregard Pacers/Magic, because even if Indiana wins that one, it’s a foregone conclusion that the Cs will leapfrog them in the standings soon enough.
But one of Toronto and Milwaukee is going to lose tonight, and the Sixers are probably going to lose, too. By night’s end, the Celtics could move into the 4th spot in the east and within a half game of the third seed.
It’s also just a really fun double-header on TNT tonight.
Enjoy the hoops.
The rest of the links:
NBCSports Boston — How can Celtics get Starter Terry production when Kyrie is healthy? | Celtics have no problem taking sting out of the Hornets | Jayson Tatum’s focus amid trade rumors? ‘Control what I can control’
Herald — Celtics notebook: Jayson Tatum takes trade rumors in stride | Wading through the real and the drama with Celtics, AD and Kyrie
Mass Live — Terry Rozier says Boston Celtics get caught watching Kyrie Irving put on a show | Boston Celtics 126 – Charlotte Hornets 94: Celtics cruise to blowout after monster third quarter