Jaylen Brown knew the Celtics couldn’t afford to lose to Magic: ‘The media would have been bad’

Jaylen Brown knew the Celtics couldn’t afford to lose to Magic: ‘The media would have been bad’

In the immediate aftermath of the best scoring night of his NBA career, Jaylen Brown made no bones about discussing his mentality as Boston faced a 14-point deficit with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday night.

“We needed to win,” Brown declared. “In no way could we have lost this game, it would not have been good. The means would not have been good. I wanted to get a win for everyone. “

The words rang true for a Celtics team that ended the night closer to a lottery spot (one game) than a playoff spot in a no-in round (two games).

With an 18-19 record near the middle of the NBA regular season, Boston’s margin of error has essentially gone into a suddenly deeper Eastern Conference. Currently, there are 12 teams talented enough to make the playoffs in a revamped Eastern Conference, which means at least a couple of them will end up watching the postseason from the couch in a few months.

Boston has a long way to straighten the boat before that happens, but losses to teams like the Orlando Magic at home are exactly what would put them in jeopardy a few months later. There have been injuries, COVID outbreaks and a general lack of cohesion, but that’s life in the 2021-22 season in the NBA. No one will take pity on the Celtics if they can’t get past him with the talent in place. Instead, it is up to them to realize that they can no longer afford to throw games, especially against inferior opponents.

Brown came to the rescue on this front Sunday night, scoring 30 of his career-high 50 points in the second half, including 14 in the final four minutes of regulation time to steal a victory for the hosts.

“Just be aggressive,” Brown said of his mentality on the 18-4 streak that forced overtime. “We increased the pressure in the fourth quarter and made something happen, but you can’t expect to be so lucky every time. We had to make something happen. It feels good to date a W. “

In recent years, Boston’s current core may have built up some inflated egos based on their deep runs in the Eastern playoffs in 2018 and 2020. That right should be long gone, however. For nearly a year and a half, this has been a .500 team with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart leading the way, with the team’s low lights dwarfing the bright spots in the past two years, particularly during times of crisis. .

No one knows what they are going to get out of this group on any particular night and that is a worrying mid-year development. Still, it’s a positive sign to hear one of the team leaders at Brown reckon with the big picture on a night where he deserved to be the center of attention.

“We’re trying to get past 20-21,” Brown said. “It is a new year. We are trying to start on the right note. In the first game we got a win, but we have to keep developing good habits as we welcome the guys into the lineup and things like that. We have to push ourselves to win some games here and I think we can do it. “

Just beating a seven-win Orlando Magic team with multiple starters isn’t something to get excited about, but it sure beats the alternative. With two days off waiting, Brown definitely didn’t want to hear the pessimism that understandably would have come with defeat.

The door is open now for the Celtics to get back into position for a meaningful place in the Eastern playoffs if they can right the boat next week. His next five opponents are all under .500 (San Antonio, New York x 2, Indiana x 2) and Jayson Tatum should be cleared to return Wednesday.

If this group can overcome their late-game demons, they’ll have a chance to prove to Brad Stevens that the supporting cast shouldn’t part ways before the trade deadline. Led by Brown, the team’s sense of urgency is growing. If he can stand up when he counts, he will tell the story of Boston’s season.

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