When Bruce Brown decided to send a disrespectful jab toward the Boston Celtics frontcourt, a narrative was created.
For the duration of the Celtics’ first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, all eyes will be on how easily Brown and the Nets roster can get to the rim against a Celtics defense that ranks first in the NBA. While it may not have seemed like it at the time, Brown stoked the fires of a fiercely competitive Boston team, and now, the scene has been set.
In a recent press conference, Ime Udoka clapped back at Brown making sure to send a message that things aren’t going to be easy for them, “We know how Brown scores and how he attacks in a lot of drive situations. We can take that away with how we want to guard it. They think it’s attack time because Rob’s out, but obviously, we’ve played quite a few games without him now and have been good enough and beat some good teams.”
“We have layers to our defense, so not it’s not like we’re getting blown by and Rob is protecting. We still have Marcus, Jaylen, and Jayson. And everybody else in between,” Udoka continued.
Kevin Durant Unimpressed With Brown’s Comments
Kevin Durant is a veteran in the league, he understands how difficult it is to win a championship regardless of the talent at your disposal. So, it was no surprise when the superstar moved to scold Brown for his comments following the team’s victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“That’s caffeine pride talking. Those two dudes can do the same stuff. It ain’t going to be that easy, I tell you that,” Durant told the media shortly after Brown had finished with his press conference.
Durant is coming into this series as the consensus “best player” and the Celtics will need to be at their best in order to slow him down. But, Durant has also spent time with Jayson Tatum this past summer and understands what level of player he will be going up against, which may have played a part in him trying to cool tensions before their playoff series tips off on Sunday, April 17.
Robert Williams is Boston’s X-Factor
Bruce Brown’s comments were based around Robert Williams being absent from the Celtics rotation as he continues to recover from a meniscus tear. However, Brown’s optimism may be short-lived, as belief is growing that Williams could return to the court before the end of the first round.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, “The possibility, I’m told, is very real that Robert Williams could return in this first-round series against the Nets. Now, Game six would fall on one month, just about one month from his left knee meniscus surgery back on March 30. And the thought from the very beginning was, because of the nature of this meniscus surgery, that he could be back within that one-month timetable.”
Williams is one of the league’s best rim protectors and finished the regular season ranked second in blocks per game. The Lousiana native has also grown as a screener and secondary playmaker this season and would be a huge boost to the Celtics’ chances of making it to the second round of the playoffs.
Furthermore, Williams has already proven effective when playing against the Nets, registering nine blocks in the opening game of the 2021 playoff series between these two teams. Of course, nothing is set in stone, and we will have to wait and see if the Celtics’ primary rim protector returns to the lineup before the end of the series.