As Jaylen Brown removed the mask, he revealed a man who suddenly could not make a mistake.
Brown scored 31 points, most of which came after he removed a protective facial device he’s been using for the past two months, and the Boston Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks by a score of 129-121 on Sunday night. This victory moved the Celtics closer to advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
Also scoring 31 points for the Celtics was Jayson Tatum, who helped them take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series that will now go back to Boston for what might be the series-clinching game on Tuesday.
Brown’s shocking decision to remove the mask during a timeout early in the second quarter, after the squad had made just one of seven shots, surprised his teammates. Marcus Smart joked that nobody recognized Brown at first because he had been concealing his face with the black shield ever since he suffered facial contusions in February.
“Maybe it was all in my brain, ” she added, “Brown said. “I simply wanted to try something new with my appearance.”
The Celtics well received his fresh appearance. The remainder of the game saw Brown shoot an impressive 11-of-15 from the field.
“As soon as I took it off, things began to turn around slightly,” he recalled. “It was like a switch was flipped.”
Both of Boston’s major players delivered when it counted the most for their team.
Brown and Tatum combined for 16 points to score their team’s last moments, preventing the Hawks from tying the series in any way they might have before.
That was an extremely rewarding triumph for Brown, not just because he abandoned the mask but also because it was accomplished in the metropolitan region where he was born and reared.
Brown, now 26 years old, describes the experience of growing up in this location as “bittersweet, dude.” “My very first game was a game involving the Hawks. I was seated in the worst section of the theater. My aunt, who was here today, celebrated her birthday by giving me tickets to see my first game, which she did for my seventh birthday.
After taking a 4-3 lead on a jumper made by Derrick White a little over a minute into the game, Boston never found themselves down again.
The Celtics were up 106-108 with two minutes left to play when Tatum hit a big 3-pointer off a loose ball, boosting their advantage to 118-106.
When Trae Young hit a deep 3-pointer to present the Hawks with one more chance, Jaylen Brown made a shot from beyond the arc to put the game out of reach for the Hawks and give the Celtics the win.
Smart contributed 19 points, while White added 18 of his own.
Another strong performance for Atlanta was turned in by Young, who finished with 35 points and 15 assists, but it was not enough. De’Andre Hunter and DeJounte Murray contributed points, with Hunter scoring 27 and Murray tallying 23.
Young said, “they came out with a feeling of urgency, and it showed.” They have a very strong and capable squad. They have arrived for a specific purpose.”
When Hunter scored eight unanswered baskets for the Hawks, including a pair of three-pointers and a thundering slam, the Hawks could get to within three points, 53-49.
Nevertheless, Boston finished the first half on a 12-4 run, highlighted by Smart’s 3-pointer, which gave the away team a lead of 65-53 going into the locker room and took a lot of energy from the home audience.
After a rough tumble after Game 3, Smart was back in the lineup for the Celtics and seemed to be in good shape.
When he was competing for a rebound, he took a fall that injured his tailbone, and as a result, Boston has listed him as a game-time decision. Nevertheless, Joe Mazzulla, the guard’s coach, announced his “all set” well before the first tip of the game.
Smart shared his experience, saying, “The rear locked up a couple of times, but I got through it okay.”
After the strong performance of the Atlanta bench in Game 3, the Celtics’ reserves were asked to shoulder a significant portion of the responsibility on Sunday.
In particular, Robert Williams III not only scored 13 points but also led the game in rebounds with 15 and blocked two shots.
Brown said, “When he’s healthy, he’s arguably the greatest defender in our league. He has such a presence on the game.” “He has such a presence on the game.”
Malcolm Brogdon added 14 points and four assists to the team’s total. Overall, the Boston reserves outscored the Atlanta bench by 30-21.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
The opening week of the playoffs has been marred by many egregious fouls, resulting in players’ ejections and bans.
Although Young was called for a flagrant foul for grabbing Tatum’s arm on a drive into the lane in the third quarter of the Celtics-Hawks series, there have been no big incidents between the two teams.
The Hawks’ head coach, Quin Snyder, had this to say about the series: “I believe it’s been a clean series.” It’s not always the case, but physicality is sometimes good. That’s just how the game works. You can use your body. For the most part, I believe the appropriate term to use is “aggressiveness.” Both of the teams have accomplished that.
After being outrebounded by a score of 48-29 in Game 3, the Celtics came out much more eager to compete on the boards in Game 4. They led 19-9 after the first inning, 32-20 at halftime, and ultimately concluded with a 49-42 advantage. They won the game. While he scored no points, Al Horford was instrumental in getting the job done. He also had five assists and two steals in addition to his 11 rebounds. Horford only tried two shots, both from beyond the arc.
Hawks: F John Collins ended the game with 5 points despite making just one of his nine attempts. Due to sickness, Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins could not commentate on the Hawk’s regional broadcast for the second game in a row. It is anticipated that he will play in Game 5.