It’s been a rough week for the Boston Celtics. After a nine-game win streak that saw them extend their lead atop the Eastern Conference, they’ve now lost three games in a row, including a brutal overtime loss to the New York Knicks on January 26.
Now, they are set to welcome the Los Angeles Lakers to TD Garden on January 28 – a game that will see LeBron James return to the city that may dislike him more than any other. Ahead of the Celtics’ game against the Lakers, Jaylen Brown spoke about meeting James in the playoffs early in his career, sharing his respect for the superstar.
“I think that experience, you know, experience is the best teacher,” Brown explained via CLNS Media. “Early on, being able to be thrown into high [intensity] moments, where everybody’s watching again, some of the best players in the world, have kind of led to cultivate the experiences that we get to see now. The growth, the amount of basketball maturity, how to win games, all of that comes into play. So it should be fun, playing against one of the, arguably the greatest player of all time in LeBron James.”
It’s clear that the players in the league have a great deal of respect for James. He’s an all-time great and is set to break the NBA record for most career points later this season. But when he and the Lakers are in Boston, any love between the two parties usually goes out the window.
James is having a phenomenal season in what is his 20th year in the NBA. He has appeared in 39 of the Lakers’ 49 games this year and is playing 36.1 minutes per contest. The 38-year-old is averaging 29.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game on 50.7% shooting from the field and 30.4% shooting from behind the three-point line.
As for Brown, he’s putting up All-Star-caliber numbers as well. Brown has appeared in 44 of the Celtics’ 50 games and is playing 35.9 minutes per contest. He’s averaging 26.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game on 48.9% shooting from the floor and 33.1% shooting from distance.
Jaylen Brown Sounds Off After Ugly Knicks Loss
Boston’s recent loss to the Knicks came in heartbreaking fashion, as Brown missed two free throws near the end of overtime. If he had made them both, the Celtics would have gone up by one point. After the game, however, head coach Joe Mazzulla shared a message of support for Brown.
“I love you, Jaylen and I believe in you,” Mazzulla told NBC Sports Boston.
Meanwhile, Brown took responsibility for the mistake.
“Just gotta be better, to be honest,” Brown said via CLNS Media. “Tonight was just a rough game. And I’m a better basketball player than I played today. Those two missed free throws kind of embodied the whole game. Didn’t really get going. Didn’t give my team enough energy to win. And that’s what happens when you don’t come out and give your best. I’ll be better.”
Jayson Tatum Sends Message After Heat Loss
Brown’s mistake marked the second game in a row where a Celtics star made a mistake on the final moments of the contest. Against the Miami Heat, Jayson Tatum turned the ball over on the Celtics’ penultimate possession. After the contest, he said that he needed to be better.
“I think not calling a timeout was smart. It’s on me,” Tatum said via Souichi Terada of MassLive. “They trust me in that situation to make the right play. Regardless of being in a double team or not, I can’t let us down like that.”