The Boston Celtics took down the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals to take a 2-1 series lead. Led by the scoring of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, Boston earned a 116-100 win, but as has been the story all season, their defense was incredible, too.
Not only did they hold the Warriors to merely 100 points, but they only gave up 11 in the fourth quarter. The Celtics outscored Golden State 23-11 in the final period of Game 3. Boston was the top defense in the league during the regular season, and they haven’t slowed down this postseason.
During his media availability session on June 9, Celtics star Jaylen Brown was asked about the importance of him and Jayson Tatum stepping up on the defensive end. He said that it’s important for them to set the standard for the rest of the team.
“It’s who we are. It’s who we’ve been. Play both sides of the ball. Everybody on our team, it sets a tone,” Brown explained. “From the top to the bottom, when you step on that court, you better bring it on both ends of the ball. So it sends messages to everybody. To Payton, Grant, to Aaron, whoever is coming into the game, we hold each other accountable on that end. Obviously, me and Jayson have been here for a large majority of the time. It just sets the whole wavelength for everybody. Like, if we’re doing it, everybody gotta do it. We’ve been doing it all season. We’ve been guarding on both ends of the ball, so we just got to keep doing that.”
Despite their offensive leadership garnering more attention, Tatum and Brown are bringing it on defense as well. In tandem, head coach Ime Udoka was asked about Brown’s growth this season, and he immediately pointed to the defensive end.
Udoka Says Brown Gives Celtics Defensive ‘Versatility’
Boston’s head coach was asked about Brown’s growth throughout the season. Udoka immediately turned his focus to the defensive end of the floor, as he believes that’s where Brown has spread his wings the most.
“Things he does, the versatility he gives us on the defensive end, is what it is. I think that goes trickle-down with Marcus and our bigs as well as our big wings. He has been solid there. He is one of the guys that probably has had to kind of restructure what he did as a defender. He is usually a guy that locks in on an assignment, on-ball, off-ball, and kind of takes that guy out. Well, we’re asking more communication, more recognition, and he is one of the guys that’s improved throughout the season as far as that,” Udoka explained.
In Game 3, Brown’s primary matchup was Klay Thompson, who he guarded for 8:06 of game time. He held Thompson to 2-of-8 shooting from the field and 1-for-6 shooting from deep in those minutes,
Udoka noted Brown’s improved offensive skillset during his answer, too.
Udoka on Brown’s Game 3: ‘Almost a Perfect Night’
In addition to complementing his defensive growth, Udoka said that Brown’s Game 3 performance was emblematic of his offensive improvements this season and that it was one of his best all-around games.
“Offensively, a culmination of last night was his playmaking ability and his scoring for himself,” said Udoka. “I think it was one of his best games of getting guys organized into spots he wanted and getting our spacing correct and attacking from there. I think it was almost a perfect night as far as the reads he made with his aggression looking to score, but also one, two dribbles and finding guys all over the court.”
Brown finished Game 3 with 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. He shot 9-of-16 from the field and 4-of-8 from behind the three-point line.
He’ll have the chance to build on his performance in Game 4, which will take place at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, June 10, in Boston.