Celtics notebook: Jaylen Brown expects to come off bench, defense remains a focus

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Jaylen Brown went through his second consecutive practice on Wednesday afternoon, setting the stage for a return to the lineup on Thursday night against the Knicks. While Brad Stevens wouldn't reveal his plans for the starting five until just before gametime in the nationally televised matchup, the third-year guard sees the writing on the wall after the team went 3-0 without him.

"I'm expecting it to keep going how it's been going," Brown said of the starting five for Thursday. "Smart and Morris have been playing extremely well, and our team is looking completely different in the first initial start of the game, so that's what I would expect. I haven't talked to Brad or anybody else, but whatever, however we can keep this going, playing the right way and continue to win, I'm 100 percent for it."

Brown pointed to veteran teammate Gordon Hayward as a model for himself when approaching the adjustment to his role.

"I believe in my ability, the coaching staff believes in my ability, so I think coming off the bench, I think people make it a bigger deal than what it really is," Brown said. "At the end of the day, it's basketball. Hayward came off the bench the other day and had 30 points. That's a mindset and that's a choice. Coming out and having the right mindset and coming out and playing basketball, letting it take care of itself."

While Brown has been far from the only reason why the C's original starting five has struggled, he has taken his fair share of punishment as the offense has excelled without him and his 39 percent shooting from the field over the past week. The absence has caused Brown to become a bit reflective of his role with this group and he sounds committed to playing to his strengths once again.