Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics Caught the Eye of LeBron James

LeBron James doesn’t have a lot to do basketball-wise these days. The Los Angeles Lakers star couldn’t even get his star-studded team into the playoffs this year, so he’s spending these days watching the NBA postseason. Tuesday night, he tuned in to Game 2 of the Boston Celtics series with the Milwaukee Bucks. Jaylen Brown scored 30 points as the Celtics evened the series at a game apiece.

While Brown lit up the Bucks for 25 first-half points, it wasn’t his scoring that caught James’ attention.

Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics put on a clinic in Game 2 against the Milwaukee Bucks

Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics celebrates after scoring against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at TD Garden on May 03, 2022, in Boston, Massachusetts. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.

The Celtics shot woefully from the floor in the series opener against Milwaukee on Sunday. It proved costly as the visiting Bucks capitalized on Boston’s 33% shooting in a 101-89 victory to steal homecourt.

The Celtics needed a bounce-back game to avoid heading to Milwaukee down 2-0. They got one. It was Brown who got things going.

Brown had a playoff career-high six three-pointers and had 25 points in the first half to set the tone. The Celtics, who never trailed, led 65-40 at halftime.

“It’s the playoffs,” Brown said, per ESPN. “Survival of the fittest. Every game counts.”

Grant Williams, who had 21 points for Boston, knew Brown was going to have a big game hours before the opening tip.

“I saw it in his eyes,” Williams said. “So at the start of the game, I was just like, ‘All right, do your thing’ and we’re supporting and cheering. He established that tone and set the mark of aggression on the offensive end, not only knocking down open shots but also moving it.”

Jaylen Brown caught the attention of LeBron James

The Celtics scored the first seven points of the game and jumped out to an 18-3 lead. They never looked back.

Brown bounced back from an ugly Game 1 in which he shot 4-for-13 from the field and finished with 12 points. Celtics coach Ime Udoka said the team made some adjustments. They also got physical.

“We adjusted well,” Udoka said. “We learned some things from Game 1 and felt like we knew we didn’t react accordingly to the way that we’re playing. Two big teams, but we haven’t been outmuscled like that all year. I think our guys took pride in that, took that to heart and we knew we would come out with the right effort tonight.”

While Brown lit up the Bucks in the opening half, he opened the eyes of many, including James, with a move he put on Milwaukee’s Grayson Allen.

With Allen guarding him in the first quarter, Brown was isolated one-on-one with the Bucks guard, who went tumbling to the floor after Brown faked right, stepped back, and hit a jumper to give Boston a 25-10 lead.

James took to Twitter to show how impressed he was with the move.

“JB cooking,” he tweeted. “And that was nasty (followed by three puke emojis).”

Brown and the Celtics still have work to do

As impressive as the victory was for the Celtics, they are still behind the 8-ball. The second-seeded Celtics had homecourt advantage taken from them and need to reclaim it.

Winning in Milwaukee won’t be easy.

Like the Bucks, who are without Khris Middleton and George Hill, the Celtics have their share of injuries. They played Game 2 without Marcus Smart, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. Brown also played with a tender hamstring that he appeared to grab a couple of times during the game. He said he’ll be fine for Saturday’s Game 3.

“The only thing that matters is the playoffs,” Brown said. “Everybody, we’ve got to do what we got to do to make sure we’re ready to perform.

“At this time of year, everybody has nagging injuries or things that they’re dealing with, so can’t let that be an excuse. You got to find a way mentally and physically to overcome whatever it is and just get it done.”

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