Friday night was an absolute failure by the Boston Celtics, but more specifically, Jaylen Brown.
After dropping Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat, Boston had a chance to respond. Instead, they crumbled under the bright lights, and the collapse was led by Brown.
“Yeah, I mean, I thought we got some great looks,” said Brown. “Me, personally, I thought I had some great looks down the line that didn’t go in.”
Brown ended the game with 16 points but took the most shots on the team. He shot 7-of-23 from the field and 1–of-7 from behind the three-point line, taking three more shots than Jayson Tatum but finishing with less than half his points.
Outside of a small stretch in the third quarter, Brown was brutal from start to finish. He was a -24 on the night, and considering how active he was in the offense, he was the worst player on the floor for Boston. And that’s without mentioning his defensive lapses.
Following a relatively rough Game 1 where his solid efficiency didn’t reflect his poor decision-making, Brown had some of the worst tunnel vision of his career in Game 2.
In the first quarter, Tatum shot 4-of-6, but Brown led the team in shots, going 1-for-7. And as the game went on, the trend continued. The only quarter Tatum outshot Brown was in the third when both were efficient, and the Celtics dominated.
The Heat did a great job of getting the ball out of Tatum’s hands, but on most occasions, Brown simply took the shot-creation duties upon himself. Brown allowed them to capitalize off his struggles, calling his own number time and time again.
Miami’s defensive coverages proved successful as they forced Tatum to play second fiddle and prevented Brown from being effective.
“I think they’re just mixing up when they go man, when they go zone,” said Brown. “They were trying to guard me with guys that are obvious guys that you would attack, but they’re using the rest of the guys to kind of help and pinch down, making it tough to get to the basket, and things like that.”
There was a stretch in the fourth quarter where Brown traveled and turned it over, then took a quick, contested mid-range jumper, proceeded to chuck up another contested look after nabbing a rebound, and capped it all off by letting Duncan Robinson slip behind him for an open layup.
It was an utterly disastrous game at every turn for the 26-year-old star, who put together the best regular season of his career. On a night when the Celtics desperately needed someone to co-star next to Tatum, Brown fell flat.
But that doesn’t mean he’s throwing in the towel.
“Just got to come out and fight. Play basketball,” said Brown. “I think both of these two games, they’ve been able to come out on top, but who’s to say we can’t come out on top in the next two games? We just got to come ready to play basketball. Can’t lose our confidence. It’s the first to four. Should make for a better story.”