Jaylen Brown puts on a show in C’s win

Celtics-Pelicans takeaways: Brown lifts C’s to fourth straight win originally appeared on NBC SportsBoston

The Boston Celtics are winners of four straight as they took down the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night, 125-114.

Both teams were short-handed in the showdown at TD Garden. Big man Robert Williams and veteran guard Marcus Smart were sidelined for the C’s while the Pelicans were without star forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

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Boston prevailed with help from Jaylen Brownwho took over with 41 points. Jayson Tatum found his groove after a quiet first half and notched 31 points. Malcolm Brogdon added 20 off the bench.

New Orleans Pelicans star CJ McCollum started 6-for-6 from 3-point range and finished with 38 points (6-12 3-PT) in the losing effort. Naji Marshall was the Pels’ next-highest scorer with 18.

Here are our takeaways from the Celtics’ 30th victory of the season. They’ll look for their fifth consecutive win when they visit the red-hot Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.

Jaylen Brown puts on a show

From the opening tip to the final buzzer, this was Jaylen Brown’s night.

The 26-year-old star was simply too quick and too strong for the Pelicans as they had no answer for him defensively, especially in the paint. Brown finished the first half with a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) and didn’t let off the gas from there.

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He added 18 more points in the third quarter alone and finished with a season-high 41 points in total. It marked his third game of the season with at least 30 points and 10 boards.

Brown was 3-for-6 from 3-point range but his damage was done inside the arc. He bullied New Orleans at the rim and piled on with midrange jumpers to shoot 15-for-21 from the field. He is one of only four NBA players with 40 points, 10 rebounds, and a 70% field goal percentage in a game this season.

The Jays combined for 72 points. The Celtics are 10-0 when their star tandem combined for 70 or more.

Malcolm Brogdon stays hot

It’s safe to say Brogdon has put his December slump far behind him. The veteran guard has been outstanding so far in 2023 and that continued in Wednesday’s win.

Brogdon dropped 20 points to nearly outscore the entire Pelicans second unit (23) on his own. He shot 7-for-11 from the floor while adding four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 26 minutes.

Just over the halfway point in the season, Brogdon remains firmly in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation. The 30-year-old’s +550 odds to win the award (via PointsBet Sportsbook) lag behind only Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (-120) and Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole (+400).

If Brogdon keeps this up, it’ll be difficult to deny him the hardware. He’s averaging starter numbers despite coming off the bench in every game so far this season.

Mixed bag from the bench

Other than Brogdon’s stellar night, there were mixed results from the C’s second unit.

Luke Kornet gave some strong early minutes to ease the absence of Rob Williams. There were some hiccups defensively, but overall it was a solid performance from the 7-foot-2 center. He had five rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in 16 minutes and likely will see more playing time Thursday night with Al Horford likely out on the second night of a back-to-back.

Payton Pritchard got a chance to shine with Marcus Smart out as he was on the court for 18 minutes, his most since Nov. 16. He was a spark plug with six rebounds but struggled in the shooting department, going 1-for-6 from 3-point range.

Sam Hauser’s struggles continued as the 25-year-old, on the bench for his reputation as a sharpshooter, was 0-for-3 in eight minutes.

Boston will need a bigger boost from its reserves in a big test against Brooklyn on Thursday.

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