BOSTON — Jaylen Brown has made it very clear he’s not afraid of any challenge, even if that means guarding the best player in the NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James.
The Boston Celtics’ rookie forward guarded James a few times in the C’s Game 1 loss to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference finals, and he had decent success.
Brown’s play in the series opener drew positive reviews from teammates and many in the media, and Cavs coach Tyronn Lue joined that group when asked about the young forward before Friday night’s Game 2 at TD Garden.
“It’s very rare you see a rookie playing in the Eastern Conference finals, or any conference finals,” Lue said. “Just seeing his growth over the year, he’s gotten better and better each time we’ve played him. That’s from these guys developing him. He’s not scared. He’s not afraid, and that’s what you like most about young guys. They might make some mistakes, but playing against the best player in the world, he’s not scared. And you can respect that.”
Brown has the athleticism, length and strength to give James more trouble than many of his Celtics teammates could, and we might see the 20-year-old forward matched up against the 4-time MVP a little more often in Game 2 as a result.
Brown won’t start in Game 2. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Gerald Green will start in place of Amir Johnson. But we still should expect to see Brown play at least 20-plus minutes, especially if he’s able to hold his own against James at the defensive end of the floor.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images