Erica Denhoff/ALOST


akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

BOSTON — Where was Jaylen Brown’s impact during the Celtics’ dominating Game 2 victory on Thursday, moving them two wins away from a return trip to the NBA Finals? Everywhere.

Where did Jaylen Brown, the second leading scorer on the team that won an NBA-best 64 games, appear in the All-NBA selections that were released on Wednesday? Nowhere.

As we hear ad infinitum, correlation does not imply causation. But are are 100 percent sure of that, at least for one night?

Brown made sure to throw that tenet into a little more doubt by leaving no doubt that he’s one of the best players in the league with a dynamic 40-point performance during Boston’s 126-110 victory over the Pacers to extend their lead in the Eastern Conference Finals to 2-0. His performance came off the heels of his miraculous corner three-pointer with 5.7 seconds remaining to send Game 1 into overtime before Jayson Tatum took over in the extra session to clinch Tuesday’s series-opening win.

One day after that dramatic victory, Tatum, the Celtics’ leading scorer and rebounder, was named to the All-NBA First team for the third season running, and now has appeared on an All-NBA team for the fourth time in five seasons. Brown, who made All-NBA Second Team last season, did not appear on the list of 15 who receive that prestigious honor after every season. (Brown received the most votes of anyone who did not make an All-NBA Team.) Furthermore, he was not selected on either of the All-Defensive teams for this season, while teammates Jrue Holiday and Derrick White made Second Team All-Defense. Again, Brown received votes for that honor, but not enough to crack that award’s top 10.

So 1 + 1 = 40 (points), right? Well, at first, Brown dismissed any and all new math to explain the scoring outburst hours after the snub. At least at first.

“We’re two games from the Finals, so honestly I ain’t got the time to give a fuck,” Brown said

But before Brown got a chance to speak to the media late Thursday night, his teammates and head coach were asked to weigh in on the topic, and the consensus was clear: Brown made it a point to prove that the NBA’s numbers that led to this year’s league-wide recognition did not add up.

“He just cares about the right stuff, but, obviously, I think stuff like that does motivate him,” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said. “But I know he also really wants to win and he has a growth mindset and wants to get better.”

Though 60 percent of the Celtics’ starting lineup received postseason honors, the rest of the team knows that that number should have been higher.

“We all felt like, internally, that he should’ve made one of the All-NBA teams, so it was a shame to see that he didn’t,” Tatum said.

During a press conference earlier in the season, Brown intimated that he should be getting more love for his defense across the league, and continued to drop small hints of a belief of being overshadowed. At the end of tonight’s press conference, he did finally show his poker hand.

“I watch guys get praised and anointed I feel like are half as talented as me on either side of the ball,” Brown said. “But at this point in my life, I just embrace it. It comes with being who I am and what I stand for, and I ain’t really changing that. And I’m grateful to step out on the floor each and every night and put my best foot forward. I get better every single year, and whether people appreciate it or not, it is what it is.”

The simple math is that Brown is one of the best in the business, and ifhis continued stellar play will lead to one last equation: 6 (more wins in the NBA Playoffs) = 18 (NBA titles).

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Tags : Boston CelticsIndiana PacersNational Basketball AssociationNBA Playoffs

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