With a 121-113 victory over the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, the Boston Celtics extended their win streak to five games. The surging Celtics are steadily climbing the conference ranks and beginning to take the form of what looks to be a potential threat to come out of the East — something many expected from the team entering the year.
While Jayson Tatum had been the thriving catalyst for much of Boston’s success of late, his fellow All-Star Jaylen Brown was the player that stole the show on Thursday. The 24-year-old dropped 40 points on the Lakers with the type of efficiency we’ve never previously seen from a player draped in Celtics colors.
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Brad Stevens Talks Jaylen Brown’s ‘Unreal’ Performance
Brown shot an absurd 17-of-20 from the field on the night (14-of-15 from inside the arc), becoming the first player in franchise history to score 40 points in a game while shooting 85%-plus from the field. His field goal percentage was also good enough to set a league-wide record for the highest percentage in a game where a player has attempted at least 20 shots (per StatHead / CLNS).
He was nearly just as lethal from downtown, shooting 3-of-5 from 3-point range — one of his two misses from beyond the arc came on a half-court heave to close out the third quarter.
“Jaylen was just unreal tonight,” head coach Brad Stevens said of his budding superstar following Boston’s victory. “He just stayed hot… I think that he’s done a good job.”
“Tonight, he was really dialed in scoring the ball. You’re not going to always shoot as well as he did tonight,” he noted. “Obviously, that’s like once-a-season type numbers, usually. But he’s had a great year and he continues to get better, and tonight was the night that he got going and we tried to ride that as much as possible.”
With Brown on the court, the Celtics outscored the Lakers by 36 points. Serving as a consistent stream of scoring, the wing notched at least nine points in all four quarters.
“I just wanted to come and be aggressive,” Brown told reporters. “Celtics-Lakers matchup is a matchup that kids dream about.”
Brown Headed Second Half Surge Alongside Second Unit
Brown led all Celtics players in minutes, logging 32 vs. L.A. — unsurprising considering how hot he was. A sizeable chunk of the minutes and production came during a second-half run while operating alongside the second unit. The CAL product helped Boston add 17 extra points to their already double-digit lead, essentially sealing the victory for the Cs altogether.
“I thought [Jaylen] with the second unit separated the game,” Stevens said. “It allowed us to get some rest for those other guys. He was great tonight, and I can’t say enough good things.”
Brown was far from a one-trick pony on the night, adding nine rebounds, three assists and one steal to his stat line for good measure. Over Boston’s five-game win streak, he has now averaged 28.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists. On the season, the fifth-year pro is averaging career-bests in every major offensive statistical category, including points (24.6), field-goal percentage (49.3%), 3-point percentage (40.0%) and assists (3.4).