Led by Jaylen Brown, the Boston Celtics took down the Miami Heat 112-93 on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Boston got off to another slow start, but dominated quarters 2 through 4 to pull off the win over its Eastern Conference foe without both Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward.
Here are three instant overreactions from the C's victory:
1. Jaylen Brown deserves Most Improved Player recognition.
Verdict: Not an overreaction
We're only a little more than a quarter of the way through the season, but it doesn't matter. It's time to start the "Jaylen Brown for Most Improved Player" talk.
Brown made his case even stronger Wednesday night with a 31-point performance (one short of his career-high) in which he went 10-for-20 from the field and 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. The 23-year-old entered the game averaging 19.3 points and 7.1 rebounds on the season. Last year, he averaged 13 points and 4.2 rebounds.
Brown has taken the reins as one of the true leaders of this team, and it's been fun to watch.
2. These slow starts are getting worrisome.
If anything, Wednesday night should've reminded you it isn't about how the Celtics start, it's about how they finish. And these slow starts, though there have been quite a few of them lately, aren't going to last all season.
Even if they did, the C's have proven capable of overcoming their sluggish starts and firing on all cylinders when it matters most. That's even without Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart, which is a statement in and of itself.
3. The Heat aren't a real threat in the Eastern Conference
The Celtics outclassed the Heat for the majority of this game, but don't let that fool you. As Brad Stevens noted prior to the contest, this team is "really good." They could be a thorn in Boston's side all year long.
Teams like the Bucks, 76ers and Raptors immediately come to mind when one thinks of the C's Eastern Conference competitors, but the Heat should be right there in that conversation.
Miami moves to 15-6 on the season after their loss, right behind the Celtics who improve to 15-5.
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.