It’s no secret that the Boston Celtics have had their struggles this season. Tuesday’s loss against the Philadelphia 76ers was no exception. The Sixers bullied their way to a 10-point victory over the Cs, sweeping the season series, 3-0.
“Yesterday was a tough one for us,” Brown told reporters on Wednesday. “That wasn’t our best showing.”
Not so long ago, the Celtics were perceived as legitimate contenders to come out of the East. Fast forward to current time and questions have been raised regarding Boston’s legitimacy as a mere playoff-caliber team. With the on-court struggles, off-court speculation has arisen. Doubts of Jayson Tatum’s leadership skills have been voiced, while rumors of the team’s star players eyeing an exit from Beantown in the near future have also gained some steam.
However, with a quick turnaround on deck against the New York Knicks on Wednesday evening, Brown was focused simply on what he and his Celtics teammates can control.
“There’s so much outside noise, so many things shifting around, I just needed to come out and be Jaylen,” Brown noted.
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Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum Details Pregame Discussion
Jaylen was certainly Jaylen on Wednesday. The 24-year-old wing fueled Boston to their 26th victory of the season, leading all scorers with 34 points and recording the first 30-point, 10-rebound game of his NBA career. However, it was more than just his in-game efforts that fueled the Celtics’ win.
Brown revealed that prior to tipoff, he pulled over fellow All-Star Jayson Tatum for a private, yet pivotal chat.
“So, I talked to JT (Jayson Tatum) before the game and we almost had to just forget about everything. And I just said, ‘Let’s just come out and play basketball. Be aggressive. Be our best version of ourselves,'” Brown noted.
“I initiated it as soon as we came in,” he added. “My energy was just upbeat. I had a conversation with him like, ‘Yesterday wasn’t our best showing, but man, let’s just play basketball. I got you, you got me. Let’s run, let’s be us and have a great game.’ I think that’s kind of what got things going for us.”
After somewhat struggling the night before, Tatum bounced back against the Knicks, chipping in with 25 points on 47.6% shooting. Following the game, the forward reiterated Brown’s take on tuning out the noise and the importance of a short memory.
“We just talked about trying to get back on track, trying to get back in the win column, forget about last game,” Tatum said. “I mean we’re both two driven individuals that kind of both know, when we’re down, what we need to do to get ourselves back going. It was real brief just saying, ‘Let’s just forget about last game, forget about, I guess, what everybody is saying. Let’s just get a win.’ That’s all we can control.”
Danny Ainge Weighs-In
Celtics’ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge chimed in on the conversation between his two star players during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich.
“I see two guys that really like each other,” Ainge said on Thursday, when asked about the relationship between Brown and Tatum. “I think that from what I gathered – I didn’t talk to them about this, I just read it – they’re just trying to keep the noise out.”
“There’s a lot of people out there who would try to get in between everybody on the team, for that matter,” he added. “It’s a healthy thing that they got together to talk through some of that stuff, because most of the time I see most of my players on their phones just reading things.”
The Celtics may have disappointed up to this point. Yet, with 22 games remaining and in striking distance of the fourth seed in the conference, many of Boston’s pre-season goals are still very much attainable.
“We probably should have those conversations just more,” Brown claimed. “Sometimes the way things are going, how much pressure we get from you guys in the media kind of makes us less open to talk or more upset about things that aren’t that big of a deal in hindsight. Things could be worse. I think we still have a chance to make a run, and we still have a chance to do everything that we said we wanted to do. Sometimes one game tends to carry over, and today we didn’t let that happen.”