The Boston Celtics are in the NBA Finals. If someone traveled back in time to the beginning of January and said that to a random Bostonian, they wouldn’t have believed it. Boston completed one of the greatest mid-season turnarounds in NBA history.
On January 14, the Celtics were a below-.500 basketball team. They had been struggling all season long, and some people were calling for Brad Stevens to break up the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The Celtics had fallen short in many of the previous seasons, and ahead of Game 1, Brown took some time to reflect on that.
During his press conference, Brown was asked about the team’s shortcomings in years past and how they affected the morale. The media questioned whether or not they made him question the team, but Brown denied that notion. Instead, he expressed his faith in his teammates.
“I will always have unwavering faith, even in the midst of situations that look like things are about to go in a direction that nobody wants to go in,” Brown proclaimed. “I will always have faith in this group and in this organization and in myself that we’ll be all right.”
That unwavering faith helped lead the Celtics on a massive fourth-quarter comeback in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, as they outscored the Golden State Warriors 40-16 in the fourth quarter.
In addition to reflecting on the team’s shortcomings, Brown was also asked about the aforementioned idea that he and Tatum should be broken up. He chalked that idea up to fans’ impatience and the city’s “no-excuse” policy.
Brown on Celtics Fans: ‘No Patience’
The Celtics star was asked about what changed from the start of the season to the end of the season in regard to he and Tatum making it work. He noted injuries and the adaptation period that comes with having a new head coach, but he also mentioned that they weren’t going to make any excuses because, when playing in Boston, excuses are frowned upon.
“Early on in the season, I was injured. I missed about 15 games. You know, the narrative isn’t going to say that,” Brown explained. “They are just going to say that you guys lost. Doesn’t matter what the excuse is. We’ve got a first-year head coach. We were trying to figure it out. We play in a city that, it has no patience for any excuses, so we didn’t make any.”
The 25-year-old ended up missing 16 games on the season, with 14 of them coming before the new year. Including the postseason, he’s only missed two games since the start of January.
According to Brown, the team’s health, combined with their trade-deadline moves, are what propelled the Celtics to the NBA Finals.
Brown Says Deadline Moves Were ‘Vital’
Elaborating on his previous statement, Brown said that the team’s improved health in the latter half of the year was crucial to their success. In addition, he believes that Boston’s trade-deadline acquisitions were just as important.
“But as things started to come together, we got healthier. We made a couple moves in the front office that were vital for us, and things started to fall in line,” Brown revealed. “I think that’s what, if you ask me, that’s what I believe. But you ask somebody else, they might say something different.”
Outside of Robert Williams’ meniscus surgery near the end of March, Boston stayed relatively healthy throughout the second half of the season. There were a couple of short-term injuries, but for the most part, their starting five and core bench pieces were able to stay on the court.
As for their trade-deadline deals, Stevens added Derrick White and Daniel Theis. White has played a key part in Boston’s postseason success, while Theis has done a great job of filling in the gaps when needed. Both have helped the Celtics get this far, as the team now holds a 1-0 lead in the NBA Finals.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals will take place this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.