With a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics are halfway to claiming their 18th world championship.
Their unquestioned superstar and franchise player is Jayson Tatum, who has been sensational at times during the playoffs.
However, with the possible exception of Game 2, when the Celtics were blown out by 19 points, Tatum hasn’t played like himself.
However, his co-star Jaylen Brown has.
He had a poor outing in Game 2, but on Wednesday in Game 3, he led the way for Boston with a very efficient 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Jaylen Brown was on fire in Q1!
♨ 17 PTS (6-9 FGM)
♨ 5 REB
♨ 3 3PM pic.twitter.com/fwbdt0Gsii
— NBA (@NBA) June 9, 2022
If one were to stop the series right now, Brown would be its MVP, without a doubt.
Brown May Be A Little Underrated
For someone who averaged 23.6 points per game in the regular season, perhaps Brown doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.
Brown’s career started off very quietly, as he averaged only 6.6 points in 17.2 minutes as a rookie.
The following two seasons, he got major playing time, but he only put up 14.5 and 13.0 points a game, respectively.
But in 2020, he started to blossom, posting 20.3 points per contest, and last season he got named to the All-Star team for the first time by averaging 24.7 points per game.
Tatum may be better at hitting contested shots, especially near the end of the shot clock, but Brown has proven to be a very adept scorer, even in one-on-one situations.
With a 7-foot wingspan, the 6-foot-6 Brown also has the ability to bother opponents on the defensive end.
Klay Thompson will see Jaylen Brown in his Nightmares pic.twitter.com/GVgeFql1tx
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) June 9, 2022
But as recently as early this season, many felt the Celtics should trade Brown in order to upgrade the rest of their roster.
They stood firm, and he is proving those critics wrong.
Golden State Needs To Put The Clamps On
Down 2-1, the Warriors still have a prime opportunity to regain control of the series if they win Game 4.
Other than rebounding, which was perhaps their biggest problem on Wednesday, it would help if they put up more resistance against Brown.
Time and time again in Game 3, he and his teammates attacked the paint, and the Warriors couldn’t find a way to stop them.
Head coach Steve Kerr may want to make some tweaks to his defensive game plan.
Should he, at times, throw a trap defense at Brown, perhaps by using the man who is guarding Smart to trap the Celtics’ star and make him give up the ball?
The problem is that, other than in Game 2, Smart has been shooting the ball well so far in this series.