Jaylen Brown silencing critics one game at a time

Jaylen Brown is playing beyond his years.

I was listening to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger and Mazz” on Monday afternoon and chuckled when one of the program’s fault-finding callers deemed the Boston Celtics win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 a fluke because “Jaylen Brown is not putting up 23 points again.”

I have two words for that caller: why not?

As a matter of fact, Game 1 was the second consecutive game in which Brown netted at least 23 points. He has made three shots from three-point range in three of the last four games and has shot 54 percent from the field since the beginning of the second round.

To make matters more impressive, Brown is achieving this after sustaining a hamstring injury which held him out of Game 1 of the second round and limited his minutes in the subsequent three games against the 76ers.

In the first round versus the Bucks, Brown was unstoppable, shoving aside the notion of him being too young to take over a playoff series. He netted 30 points in a Game 2 win before posting 34 points on 13-of-24 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 shooting from deep in a Game 4 defeat.

Throughout the regular season, Brown was frequently bogged down by passiveness down the stretch of close games. He filled in the void Bradley left as a first quarter scorer, someone capable of getting you buckets in the first 12 minutes of a game but plagued by disappearing acts when crunch time arrived.

In these playoffs, Brown is not bowing down to any sort of pressure. In clutch time, he has averaged 2.3 points per situation in which the game is within five points with less than five minutes left. This is a major improvement from the 0.9 points he recorded per clutch situation in the regular season.

Brown has earned the trust of Brad Stevens in this crucial moments. The sophomore averaged 3.0 minutes in the 37 clutch situations he appeared in during the regular season. He has been called upon in six such situations throughout the postseason and is playing 4.8 minutes in these instances. This shows he is part of the plan when Stevens’ rolls out the lineup designed to win games in the fourth quarter.

He has every right to be in this rotation when the game is hanging in the balance. Brown is shooting 54.5 percent in the clutch this postseason, right behind Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum for the best mark on the team. His figure is better than LeBron James‘ 50 percent and James Harden‘s 40 percent.

The facet of Brown’s offensive game that is most encouraging for Stevens and his staff is Brown’s ability to knock down the three-pointer off the catch. Brown is six for his last nine from deep and is shooting 42.9 percent from three during the postseason. 46 percent of Brown’s shots through this time period have come from deep, and he has garnered the greenest of green lights from Stevens.

On shots between 20-24 feet, he is hitting at a 47.4 percent clip. Stretch Brown out to 25-29 feet from the basket, and he is still cashing in on 41.5 percent of his tries, the best percentage on the squad outside of Al Horford and Marcus Morris.

Overall, Brown has been wildly efficient for Boston this postseason. His scoring is a major factor in the Celtics standing just three wins away from their first NBA Finals berth since 2010.