How Celtics coaches used Bruce Brown's comments to motivate players


Bruce Brown gave the Boston Celtics some bulletin board material earlier in the week. And yes, they used it.

Several Celtics players have admitted they're aware of Brown's comments, which put Boston big men Al Horford and Daniel Theis in the spotlight after the Brooklyn Nets' play-in tournament win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"We can't let (Jayson) Tatum get 50 (points)," the Nets guard said Tuesday when asked about the key to beating the Celtics in their first-round playoff matchup. "We've got to be physical with them.

"Now they don't have Robert Williams, so they have less of a presence in the paint, and we could attack Al Horford and Theis. So them not having Robert Williams is huge."

Celtics-Nets playoff preview: Three keys to a Boston victory

Theis quickly caught wind of Brown's comments -- because the Celtics' coaching staff apparently showed them to him and the rest of the team the following day.

"When we were in the locker room, it came up and also like in film sessions, (they) just showed it. Coaching staff showed (the clip)," Theis recently told's Brian Robb.

Brown's comments clearly struck a nerve with Theis, who vowed to "prove (Brown) wrong" and demonstrate that he and Horford can hold it down in the frontcourt with Williams sidelined.

"It would be a different story if he didn’t mention me and Al’s name," Theis told Robb. "Because obviously, everybody knows Rob is not playing, it’s a different defense, because nobody can do what Rob does ... protecting the rim-wis.

"We as a team, we didn’t need extra motivation but for me personally, it’s going to be like, it’d be like a little extra chip there."

Theis' teammates seem plenty motivated, as well.

"I'm excited to get going (Sunday)," Horford told reporters Saturday when asked about Brown's comments, via's Jay King. "My stuff gets done on the floor and we’re looking forward to the challenge as a whole."

"We respond with action," Jaylen Brown offered. "We'll be ready to go on Sunday."

So, if you're wondering why Kevin Durant seemed irked by Bruce Brown's comments, here's your answer, as the Celtics appear to have taken full advantage of the Nets guard's remarks to get their team ready for Sunday's Game 1 at TD Garden.

Note: Games 2-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired exclusively on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

Contact Us