Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown explains how a mindset shift this season has helped him

"The outside pressure and noise has affected me a lot less."

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Jaylen Brown has been locked in during the 2024 NBA playoffs, and one of the best examples came in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Indiana Pacers.

Brown made two clutch free throws, forced a turnover and sent the game to overtime with a clutch 3-point shot from the corner -- all in the last two minutes of regulation.

The Celtics eventually won 133-128.

In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin, Brown explained how a mindset shift coming into the season has impacted him in a positive way.

"At the end of last year, I think I just developed a mentality where it was like, you just gotta keep going," Brown said. "Life, basketball, it's all about how you handle adversity, and how you handle your emotions, and not defeating yourself or shooting yourself in the foot.

"You might mess up in a game. Things might not go your way. But don't let that snowball. You gotta be able to stop it right there and get back to a positive mindset. That'll help you get back to success."

This mindset helped Brown in Game 1 when the Pacers were in control late in the fourth quarter and appeared to be headed for a series-opening upset.

"(On Tuesday) things weren't going great, but I never said it was over until it was over, and I was able to help my team win the game," Brown said.

Brown also said he has done a better job blocking out external criticism and pressure this season, and is just trying to meet the high expectations he already has for himself.

"I feel a lot less pressure, externally at least -- I've always had internal pressure because I expect great things for myself," Brown explained. "But I think this year I feel a lot less external pressure than I ever have. Just living in the moment, taking it one game at a time, and not adding unnecessary pressure that is not needed. It's you vs. you at the end of the day.

"The outside pressure and noise has affected me a lot less. I know there's a lot of expectations on myself. There's a lot of expectations on our season and us. All I can do is be the best version of myself and come out and play free, play aggressive and let the chips fall where they may."

Brown is averaging 23.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 54.8 percent from the field in the playoffs so far. His defense has been fantastic as well.

The Celtics would not have beaten the Pacers in Game 1 without Brown's leadership and clutch play. They'll need more of those kinds of performances from Brown to ultimately accomplish the team's No. 1 goal of winning Banner 18.

Check out the full interview with Brown in the video below:

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