Straight out of quarantine, Boston Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown made franchise history while setting a new career-high as he electrified Madison Square Garden in the Celtics’ thrilling regular-season opener against the New York Knicks.
Brown was outstanding from the jump. He netted 14 points in the game’s opening five minutes on his way to 20 first-quarter points before finishing the night with a game-high 46 points — which surpassed Paul Pierce’s (35 points) franchise record for most points scored in a season-opener.
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In the end, however, Knicks All-Star Julius Randle (35 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists) and former Celtic Evan Fournier (32 points, 4 steals) had the last laugh. Randle’s 3-point play with 1:46 left granted New York its first lead (133-131) in the second overtime.
But when Tatum’s jumper evened the score, Fournier retaliated with a 26-foot three that put the Knicks up for good on their way to a 138-134 victory.
Jaylen Brown On Scoring 46 Points: ‘Adrenaline Kind of Took Over’
Brown, who contracted COVID-19 earlier in the month, was cleared to play just hours before tip-off.
“How did I do it? I think just being aggressive, I don’t know,” Brown replied. “I spent a lot of time in quarantine thinking about when I was going to get back out there. Just imagining; seeing the game, visualizing. And some shots fell tonight. I only had, really, 24 hours to prepare. My breathing felt irregular but fine, for the most part. Towards the end, I could feel my heart beating through my chest. But it would have been better if we got the win.”
Jaylen was efficient. He made 16-of-30 field-goal attempts while adding 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and three steals to his final stat line.
“Adrenaline kind of took over. Once we got to the end of the first overtime going into the second, I could hear my heartbeat,” Brown explained. “I tried to do my best to breathe and stuff like that but for the most part, I felt fine, to be honest. Coming out of quarantine playing 46 minutes, I think I did OK.”
Brown: ‘Defensively, We Need to Tighten Some Things Up’
In the end, what made the difference for the Knicks?
“I think we missed some shots. Obviously, I blew a layup — which was kind of embarrassing but I think we missed a lot of shots,” Brown replied. “Defensively, we need to tighten some things up. Just get back at communicating. It was loud in there. Those New York fans are always loud. We could have communicated a little bit better. We let Fournier get going towards the end. That just can’t happen. You know, kudos to them, they played well tonight.
“But I don’t think we played as well as we possibly could but I’m excited. I’m excited for this team, for this journey.”
The Celtics’ home opener is against the Toronto Raptors Friday at TD Garden.