Man on a mission: Jaylen Brown setting tone for Boston Celtics on and off the court

Jaylen Brown is an incredible yet contentious player when in comes to Boston Celtics fans, but the dialogue surrounding No. 7 was always wrong Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Jaylen Brown is an incredible yet contentious player when in comes to Boston Celtics fans, but the dialogue surrounding No. 7 was always wrong Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

Heading in the half down by six, the Boston Celtics could have easily thrown in the towel on the second night of a back-to-back against the Raptors. In the third quarter, the attitude of the Celtics without four of its rotational players shifted, and Joe Mazzulla’s club ran away with the game in the second half, outscoring Toronto 35-18 through the first 12 minutes after halftime. Over the last few weeks, it has become evident, Brown is making a statement for his All-NBA campaign while Jayson Tatum is still sitting at the top of the MVP ladder.

The former California guard struggled with his shot under 50% for the first time in seven games against Nick Nurse’s side, but Brown was still able to affect the game through his vision, and willingness to get his teammates involved. Whether it was finding Luke Kornet for an alley-oop dunk, or not forcing the issue toward the basket, Brown executed what he preached post-game against the Heat. Brown expressed that he needed to do more to get his teammates going despite putting up 37 points, and 14 rebounds.

Holding himself accountable is essential to someone like Brown that has 85 total playoff games under his belt. After two games in a row with 11 combined turnovers, Brown has not given the ball away once in the Celtics’ latest back-to-back against two teams that are in the top-six in fewest field goals allowed per game so far in this campaign.

Although there are games in which Brown has struggled in the giveaways department, he continues to own up to his mistakes, which has made him more conscious of his mistakes. Even when he leads Boston on the offensive end, Brown is still able to figure out ways in which he could improve his game, with the focus always on that one goal in the middle of June.

After his emphatic performance on the road against the Nets, Brown spoke about what his focus is at this moment in time, stating:

"“I want to get to the playoffs, and I want to show what I can do there…I think I could play with the best of them. I know what my capabilities are, but my emphasis right now is on winning games and leading this team back to the Finals. So that’s where my point of emphasis is. Anything else that comes along, whatever — I’m really focused on getting us back to the NBA Finals.”"

Jaylen Brown sets the tone on and off the court for the Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown may have netted the first four points to ignite Boston’s comeback on the road on Monday night, but it has always been his mentality and leadership off the court that has set the tone for this team’s consistent success. Brown’s relentlessness is contagious, throughout a team that is in no business of making any sort of excuse whenever they do become available. Boston is the only team in the NBA to have two players in the top 13 on the scoring list.

Over the last 10 contests, Brown is tied with Kevin Durant, averaging 29.2 points per game while he is tied in the assist category with Tatum over that period. Brown is one of seven players in the top 20 in scoring in the last ten games to have accumulated a 50% shooting percentage from the field. It is not only his contributions in the halfcourt on the offensive side of things, his drive to contribute defensively has been clear as day. Brown’s four blocks against the Nets were the most in a single game in his career, surpassing his total of three back in March of 2021 against the Cavaliers. His chase-down block on Royce O’Neale in the second quarter at the Barclays Center on Sunday tells the whole story of his commitment on the defensive end of things. Brown has nine contests with two or more steals so far this season and has taken on the task of defending some of the opposition’s best players while he is top-ten in the NBA in usage percentage.

Brown does not give up defensively in the halfcourt, constantly keeping his eye on the ball while making sure he knows where his man is. His anticipation against a determined Nets side that has not beaten Boston since November 24, 2021, was evident. Just when Brooklyn was trying to snatch some momentum back into its favor, Brown was there on the defensive end to create havoc. While Tatum is piecing together a historic season for the Boston Celtics, it cannot be overshadowed by the excellence of Brown, especially as of recently.

In the past, many of the Celtics’ players have been known for believing that the regular season did not matter, but over the last two seasons, Boston has emphasized the importance of the games like the one against the Raptors on the second night of a back-to-back. Brown’s mentality of accountability, even when it comes to himself demonstrates his ability to see the bigger picture in front of him. Getting back to the Finals is the ultimate goal at the end of the season and on the back of Brown’s commitment on both ends of the floor, there seems to be no obstacle too large that this Boston Celtics team can’t overcome.