Jaylen Brown scored 41 points as the Celtics beat the Pelicans


The Celtics

The Pelicans, shorthanded in the fourth quarter, had no answer to Brown or Jayson Tatum.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall drives to the basket against Celtics guard Jaylen Brown. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The Celtics defeated the depleted Pelicans on Wednesday, winning 125-114.

Here are the takeaways.

1. What an honor it must be for Joe Mazzulla to coach a team that features Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. On Wednesday, Brown led the Celtics to a win with 41 points and an absurdly efficient 15-of-21 shooting — a season high — that kept the Pelicans at arm’s length for most of the night.

Then in the fourth quarter, Tatum — who looked like he was trying to reach 30 points even on the night off — added 14 points to finish off the Pelicans in style.

Much has been made of the Celtics’ dynamic duo, but we must make sure that Tatum and Brown’s combined skill on the court does not overshadow their individual brilliance. After all, the journey so far for Brown and Tatum, both individually and as a duo, hasn’t always been easy.

“They play well together,” Joe Mazzulla said. “I think they both grew up in this area. I think we’ve all been influenced, for lack of a better term, by what we’ve been through in the NBA since we’ve been together. Ups and downs, playoff wins and playoff losses.

“So when you get to this point in your career, you know you need each other and you know you need your teammates, and that’s a very powerful thing. I think these two guys know that. , and I think they do both very well – being great players and knowing that they need each other and are teammates.

Brown admitted that he and Tatum could be different this year. The reporter asked how tough this year’s duo is.

“I don’t think it’s the best thing you’re going to see,” Brown said. “But I think so far, individually, it’s been the best we’ve played and led our team this season.

“But I think we have other limits that we can reach in the future, in our careers.”

2. As skilled as Brown and Tatum are, perhaps no other attribute has grown in recent years other than their strength. Both have been adept at pushing their opponents to the sidelines when they get to the rim, which helps their effectiveness but also amplifies each other.

wednesday Brown especially throwing defenders with ease.

Al Horford laughed when a reporter asked how Brown got to the rim.

“When he drives, I feel the same way people feel,” Horford said. “If he hits you while he’s driving, it’s real. So it’s good to see him play at this level and decide to attack the paint.

Brown said he feels stronger and believes he’s put on some muscle this season.

“I think Al has some wisdom about him, so I take that as a compliment,” Brown said. “But mostly try to be aggressive.

3. CJ McCollum kept the Pelicans alive for several quarters. He hit his first six shots and scored 22 of his 38 points in the first half.

McCollum, who averaged 20.8 points but more importantly played 36 games for an injury-riddled Pelicans team, was asked about his chances of making the All-Star roster this season.

“I get paid like all the stars,” McCollum joked to journalists.

McCollum is in the second year of a three-year, $100 million contract. It is not wrong.

4. Robert Williams missed Wednesday’s game as part of an ongoing strategy to get the Celtics one night off.

“Manage it as much as you can,” Mazzulla said. “He’s coming back better every day, so that’s great.”

The Celtics were also without Marcus Smart, who suffered a knee contusion on Monday. Mazzulla said he expects Smart to travel with the team on its upcoming three-game road trip.

5. With the Smart out, the Celtics split their play into multiple players. Derrick White finished with a team-high six assists, while Tatum, Malcolm Brogdon, Grant Williams and Horford each added four. The Celtics can often field a lineup full of 1-5 playmakers, especially as Williams develops his game as a rare threat off the dribble. When the defense breaks down in the paint and the ball moves around the perimeter, the Celtics often look unstoppable.

6. Brogdon has seen his shooting numbers dip a bit recently after his absurd start, but he scored effectively in a variety of ways against the Pelicans, finishing with 20 points on 7-11 shooting.

Mazzulla praised Brogdon for running the pick-and-roll with Tatum this season, along with the dynamic scoring he brings off the bench.

“I think when he plays at a certain pace with that second unit, it gives us a spark to go faster with that unit,” Mazzulla said. “I think he’s done a good job recognizing 2-on-1s and doing a good job recognizing corners.”

7. There was Raphael Devers, a jacket with “34” on it. Predictably, the rest of the Red Sox superstar received a standing ovation.

The Celtics now embark on a three-game road trip that includes two cities – one in Brooklyn and two in Charlotte. They face the Nets for the second night in a row on Thursday.

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