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Jaylen Brown's role critical for Celtics after Gordon Hayward's injury

Make no mistake about it!. This Celtics team is built to withstand almost any insult. Gordon Hayward's hand injury last night in Boston's 135-115 thrashing of San Antonio should not be a significant glitch, even though Gordon is expected to miss a number of weeks.


Jaylen Brown's role with the Celtics now becomes much more important, but his play this season is a clear indicator that he is ready for the challenge. Last night, he scored 30 points on 10-of-18 from the field and an uplifting 9-of-10 from the charity stripe. He also supplied seven rebounds and three assists in the contest.

But it was in the first period that Jaylen proved his worth. With the Spurs gaining a 7-0 lead by the 10:25 mark of the first quarter, Brown got the steal and a layup. He picked up five more points very quickly on another layup, plus a free throw and jumper - thereby evening the score at 7-7. Boston finished the quarter leading the Spurs with a 39-30 score - and never looked back.


Jaylen proposes that his improvement is the result of getting more opportunities this season. I contend that he just simply is a better basketball player than last season. His ball-handling, drives to the basket and use of his left hand are all indicative of his surge this year. And we hope his 9-of-10 free throw shooting last night is a sign that his foul shot percentage is on the rise.

Hayward's all-around production and savvy play will certainly be missed, but this Celtics team is built to overcome most obstacles. Boston's 5-man core has been reduced by one temporarily, but the Jay Team, Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker are ready to hold the fort. And Rob Williams 22-minute performance last night may mean we get to see more of him on the court, filling in both at center and power forward. But the onus is primarily on Jaylen to deliver, and he appears ready.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @CausewayStreet and Facebook



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