Kyrie Irving posted just the second triple-double of his career on Thursday night, yet the first name Brad Stevens credited for Boston's win in his postgame press conference was not the All-Star point guard.
“I thought after the six-minute mark of that (third) quarter we were – we were really dialed in,” Stevens said after the 126-120 victory over the Kings. “They forced us to play big some; I thought our double bigs played well together and I thought, you know, obviously, the lift that Jaylen (Brown) gave us scoring the ball off the bench and we got a lot of good performances in those last 16 minutes.”
Brown had 22 points off the bench in the win, continuing a trend for a couple of months now, which puts him as the most consistent weapon off the Celtics bench and perhaps a top-four player on the team as a whole. The third-year guard has found his confidence as a scorer again, shaking off a dismal start to the year to jump up fourth on the team in scoring (13.0 ppg) after Thursday’s victory.
The reasons for the bounceback are numerous: His shot selection has improved, his defense is far more consistent and despite being on the receiving end of blowups from the likes of Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris here and there after a bad decision or defensive miscue, the 22-year-old has maintained his composure most nights. No one on this team gets the kind of public scrutiny that Brown does from his teammates while he’s on the court and he’s taken the heat in stride. It’s a credit to his maturity that he has managed to overcome this.
Still, in the midst of his midseason resurgence, there has been one key element to his game that has remained missing in action prior to March: