Boston Celtics

A season-high 41 points from Jaylen Brown was just what the Celtics needed Wednesday night at TD Garden, as Joe Mazzulla’s squad became the first NBA team to hit the 30-win mark this season thanks to a 125-114 win over the Pelicans.

Brown’s 41-point explosion, which came with a season-high 15 field goals made, was his 40-point outing of the season, and his first effort of at least 40 points since a 50-burger in a Jan. 2, 2022 meeting with the Magic last season.

This was an old fashioned Jaylen takeover, too, as nothing was slowing Brown down in this contest.

“When [Brown] drives, I feel like people feel it,” Celtics big man Al Horford said. “When he’s hitting you and he’s driving, that’s real. It’s good to see him playing at that level and have his mind made up that he’s going to attack the paint more.”

“Just being aggressive,” Brown said of his success in this one. “Just trying to play at a nice pace and just be aggressive.

“I feel good about a lot of the shots that I’ve taken from three, some of them haven’t went down [and] some of them have. But I definitely still think I’m gonna look to get to the basket a lot more for sure. Just for the remainder of the year.”

  • But the Celtics needed more than Brown to put down the pesky Pelicans, who played without both Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, out of the gate in this contest, especially with what started out as a three-friendly contest for both clubs.

    With the Pelicans on the board with a perfect 5-for-5 start from three-point range out of the gate, the Celtics matched New Orleans with seven three-point makes of their own through the first 12 minutes of action, and held a six-point edge through 24 minutes on the Garden parquet.

    Boston’s first-half lead came three different C’s shooters in double-figures, as Brown’s team-high 18 in the first half came with strong support from Horford (11 points) and Jayson Tatum (14 points).

    But once the Celtics started rolling in the second half, New Orleans had little to no answer.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 11: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics dives after a loose ball in front of Dyson Daniels #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at TD Garden on January 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 11: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics dives after a loose ball in front of Dyson Daniels #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at TD Garden on January 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • That second-half push really came from Brown, too, as No. 7 went absolutely insane for the Celtics with 23 points in 17:01 of second-half play, and with makes on all but two of his nine attempts from the floor.

    Brown was nearly perfect from the charity stripe, too, with makes on all but one of his eight free-throw tries in the second half, and finished with his eighth double-double of the season thanks to a 12-rebound night.

    Behind Brown’s season-best night, Tatum remained strong as ever for the Celtics, with 31 points and 10 rebounds in over 35 minutes on the floor en route to his 16th double-double of the season.

    The Celtics know they’re an absolute handful to contain when they have both these guys rolling, and if you ask them, they’re just getting started when it comes to their attempted redemption tour.

    “I definitely think we got other limits to reach in the future [and] in our career,” Brown said of his one-two with Tatum. “And this is just part of the process is right now trying to still learn and figure things out.”

  • In addition to a combined 72 points from their 1A-1B of Tatum and Brown, the Celtics got a considerable lift off their bench with a 20-point outing from Malcolm Brogdon with an 7-for-11 shooting effort.

    It was the 30-year-old Brogdon’s second effort of at least 20 points in his last three games, as the second-unit leader finished last Saturday’s game with 23 points.

    The Celtics played this game without Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III available.

    The hope is that the Celtics will get at least one of them back for Thursday’s showdown in Brooklyn.