Stephen A. Smith Gives Clear Demand To Celtics’ Jaylen Brown
The Celtics are on the brink of elimination from the NBA playoffs, and they’ll need their stars to help them survive.
Boston is down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series against the Philadelphia 76ers heading into Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center. Head coach Joe Mazzulla will be tasked to figure out the right adjustments for the Celtics to win two straight games and advance to the Eastern Conference finals, but the pressure will be on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, especially amid talk of a potential breakup.
The star duo rarely has performed consistently in the NBA playoffs, and the pair being named to All-NBA teams only will brighten the spotlight on them. Stephen A. Smith had a clear game plan for Boston in Game 6.
” … Offensively, no matter who your star is, when you got two of them, shouldn’t you go with the more consistent one?” Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take” on Thursday. “Now, if one is not a star, that would be different. But you got two stars, and one of them is consistent. Don’t you think it would behoove you to get him the ball? Jaylen Brown has scored 23 or more points in all five games of this series. This man is averaging 23.6 points on 57% shooting from the field and 43% shooting from 3-point range. Why the hell would you not give him the ball? Why would he not take three shots in the second half? Why would he not take one single attempt in overtime? Now, I’mma blame him as much as Mazzulla, because you are enough of a star, who’s clamoring to be a No. 1 option, who should demand the ball or take it. It’s not like you didn’t touch it. You can do something with it. You have the capability. Damn it, do it. You’re Jaylen Brown.”
Tatum has not been very efficient in the Eastern Conference semifinals — the Celtics forward has scored 23 or more points in four of five games in the series — but he has gotten it done when it comes to assists and rebounds. However, the point Smith made is clear: Brown isn’t as aggressive in the second half against the Sixers.
In the series, Brown has a 30.9 usage percentage in the first quarter, but that number goes down to 21.9%, 25% and 23% throughout the game. For Tatum, his usage numbers start at 24.6% and go to 35.7%, 33% and 25.8% throughout the game. Marcus Smart has the highest usage numbers per game on the Celtics in the fourth quarter at 28.4%.
Usage percentage only tells one part of a complete story, but it’s clear the ball needs to be in Tatum and especially Brown’s hands more in the second half, and the Celtics need to rely less on Smart in crunch time.
The post Stephen A. Smith Gives Clear Demand To Celtics’ Jaylen Brown appeared first on NESN.com.