Another loss for the Boston Celtics; another somber press conference from All-Star Jaylen Brown, whose comments after losing efforts of late have left plenty of room for interpretation, and Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks was no different.
The Mavs, playing on the second night of a back-to-back, handed the receding Celtics a 110-107 loss in Dallas. After a strong third-quarter finish, the Mavs poured it on in the final frame; where Mavs guard Jalen Brunson (22 points) helped carve out a 12-point lead with less than three minutes left to play.
Despite the Celtics’ valiant effort of climbing out of a double-digit hole and snatching an unexpected lead — thanks to Jaylen Brown’s jumper from inside the free-throw line with only 37.6 seconds left (105-104) — Mavs All-Star Luka Doncic still had plenty to say. Catching Celtics center Daniel Theis on a switch, Doncic dribbled between his legs, took a 26-foot step-back 3-pointer, and splashed it in to push Dallas ahead (107-105).
After Brown drove and connected on a game-tying layup, Doncic delivered a game-winning dagger over Celtics rookie Aaron Nesmith and a blitzing Kemba Walker. Boston, 5-10 of their last 15 games, is currently on a downward spiral.
Celtics’ Jaylen Brown: ‘I Don’t Feel Very Much Like An All-Star’
Prior to tip-off, it was announced that Brown, along with his teammate Tatum, were selected to represent the NBA’s Eastern Conference All-Stars at this year’s 2021 NBA All-Star Game. For Tatum, it’s his second selection, and for Jaylen, it’ll be his first.
Still, when asked about the honor, it was difficult for Brown to look past what’s happening to the Celtics (15-16); who are now officially under .500 and currently tied for sixth place with the New York Knicks, in the win column.
“I don’t feel very much like an All-Star,” Brown said. “I think this is the most I’ve lost since I’ve been here as a Celtic. We’ve got to find ways to win.”
Jaylen Brown On Defending Luka Doncic: ‘We Got A System, And We Stuck To It Tonight Based Upon That’
Jaylen, who was asked about the loss after the game, was asked about how one rationalizes losing this way, especially to a guy who made two devastating 3-pointers from 26 feet, and beyond.
“It’s tough,” Brown said Tuesday night. “It’s another heartbreaking loss. I think we played well, in spots, yet again, we just got to finish games, better. Doncic got the switch and hit some tough shots and it’s tough. We got a system, and we stuck to it tonight based upon that.
“When a guy gets it going like that; it’s tough, but we got to get the ball out of his hands more.”
Is Jaylen Brown Frustrated With “The System”?
The system the Celtics implemented against Doncic forced him to make two well-contested 3-pointers. Therefore, from one angle it seems like Brown is giving the utmost props to Luka for hitting difficult shots.
However, mentioning head coach Brad Stevens’ “system” and adding that the Celtics had to get the ball out of Doncic’s hands more often, makes me wonder if Brown wishes it was him defending Doncic in those final moments. Perhaps, he didn’t agree with Stevens’ opinion of sicking Nesmith on him, with Kemba available for help, especially after Brown hit two of the Celtics’ biggest shots of the night.
Brown led with a game-high 29 points on 12-of-20 attempts, seven rebounds, five assists, and a pair of steals. Jayson Tatum added 28 points, six rebounds, and a pair of blocks and Kemba Walker poured in 21 points.
Next up, the Celtics will face the Hawks in Atlanta, Wednesday night.