Celtics’ Jaylen Brown makes second All-Star team, selected as reserve


When Jaylen Brown was snubbed from being an All-Star last season, the Celtics star insisted it didn’t bother him. But a year later, he made sure that mistake wouldn’t happen again.

Brown has earned what he’s richly deserved. On Thursday night, the Celtics’ seventh-year wing was selected to his second career All-Star game, as he was chosen by NBA coaches as a reserve. He’ll join Jayson Tatum, who was voted as a starter, as well as Joe Mazzulla and the rest of the Celtics coaching staff for the All-Star festivities in Salt Lake City, Utah. The All-Star Game is on Feb. 19.

Brown just missed out on being named an All-Star starter last week when he was edged by Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving and Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell in the voting for Eastern Conference backcourt players. But it was a virtual lock that Brown would be selected as a reserve. He’s enjoying a career year, averaging a career-high 27.0 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the first-place C’s.

Along with Brown, the rest of the Eastern Conference reserves are Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan, Miami’s Bam Adebayo, Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday, New York’s Julius Randle and Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton.

Bucks star Giannis Antetekounmpo and Lakers star LeBron James were voted as the team captains and will select their squads moments before the All-Star Game. Mazzulla will coach Team Giannis.

Rob ‘back to normal’

Robert Williams had one of his most efficient offensive games of the season in Wednesday’s blowout win, as he finished with 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting in 19 minutes. But those numbers only tell part of the story.

It’s obvious that Williams is a game-changer defensively, but he’s also a major key to unlock the Celtics’ offense. While his re-acclimation to the lineup since returning in December hasn’t always been smooth, Wednesday offered a blueprint of what the Celtics are hoping for.

“He’s a huge key to our offense if we want to get to where we want to get to,” Mazzulla said. “He’s doing a better job of understanding how teams are guarding him, what the coverage is and how to play versus it. (Wednesday), I don’t think he let anyone go under so every screen had to go over. He sealed, he created gaps, he created small 2-on-1s, he did a great job against smalls on the offensive glass and he really helped our switch attack.

“For our offense to get to another level, he’s got to be dynamic with his screening against different coverages and his ability to score down there. I thought he showed that tonight.”

Williams was coming off a six-day break after missing Saturday’s win over the Lakers with an ankle sprain. But he looked refreshed and rejuvenated with several putbacks as the C’s steamrolled the Nets in the first quarter.

It’s been six weeks since Williams returned from knee surgery and though he’s missed a handful of games since, he feels like his conditioning is back to normal. Before last week’s ankle injury, he logged season-highs in minutes with 31 and 36 in the Celtics’ losses to the Heat and Knicks.

“I do feel like I’m back to normal conditioning wise, but just the game, I love it,” Williams said. “It was easy to come back and to start playing. Obviously conditioning wasn’t that easy, but I feel like I’m there.”

Irving praises C’s

After his Nets lost a 10th consecutive game to the Celtics, Irving – who continued to draw boos from the TD Garden crowd whenever he touched the ball – had high praise for his former team.

“They have a chip on their shoulder,” Irving said. “It’s clear as day they want to win a championship and they’re not wasting any time in the regular season, so tonight I felt like we were just one of those teams in the way and we just can’t be one of those teams in the way. We have to be one of those teams that stands up to them and at least shows them that we’re going to be competition for them moving forward, which I believe we are, but tonight we just didn’t show it.”

Irving almost sounded a little jealous of the Celtics. The Nets have been reeling without Kevin Durant, but Irving is hopeful they can come together in a way the C’s are.

“As a competitor, I’m not going to stop until I figure out what this methodology is to the Boston Celtics right now, and why they’re so hot,” Irving said. “I think I have a main reason, of just how connected they are and how much they played together, how many minutes they’ve logged in together, and again, that chip on their shoulder. You can see it, you can feel it. I think we just have to develop a tougher mentality here, and when we do that, I feel like we’ll be in better competition with them. I know we will.”

Odds & ends

Tatum and Brown continued to pile up records together in Wednesday’s win. The duo holds the record for most games before the All-Star Game with 25-plus points each, with 27 games. That’s more than Los Angeles’ Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, who had 25 such games before the All-Star break in 1962-63, and Golden State’s Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, who had 23 games in 2018-19.

Tatum and Brown also became the first duo in Celtics history to each make seven 3-pointers in the same game. …

Marcus Smart will miss his sixth consecutive game on Friday night against the Suns due to his right ankle sprain.

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