Boston Celtics

Jaylen reacts to Draymond's ‘disrespectful' defense in C's-Warriors

"If you want to dare me to shoot, we can do that too."

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BOSTON -- There are bold strategies, and then there's how Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors guarded Jaylen Brown on Sunday.

Green matched up with Brown in the first quarter of the Celtics' game against the Warriors at TD Garden and surprisingly gave the All-Star wing a wide berth, letting him shoot multiple wide-open 3-pointers out of the gate.

If this was Green's attempt to play mind games with Brown, it worked for about three minutes. Brown missed two of his first three 3-pointers, then drilled four of his next six to finish with 19 first-quarter points as Boston raced out to a 44-22 lead.

Golden State's strategy was quite bold considering Brown is the Celtics' leading first-quarter scorer (7.1 points per first quarter entering Sunday) and a respectable 3-point shooter (34.8 percent this season). It backfired considerably, as Brown's tone-setting first-quarter paved the way for Boston's most lopsided win of the season, a 140-88 rout.

The All-Star wing admitted Green's lax defense felt a bit "disrespectful."

"It's the first time it's ever happened to me," Brown said of Green's defensive tactics. "Honestly, I was a bit surprised. Took a little bit of adjusting, but I think we just took advantage of whatever that attempt was.

"For the most part my job is to get to the paint. We've got enough 3-point shooters on my team. So, I don't take a lot of threes for the most part throughout the season, because we've got enough of that. I get to the paint and usually open it up for everyone else, but if you want to dare me to shoot, we can do that too.

"I thought it was a little disrespectful, but we took advantage of it and we didn't look back."

So, what exactly were Green and the Warriors thinking giving Brown free offensive rein in the first quarter?

Head coach Steve Kerr said the intention was to try to keep Boston out of the paint and allow Green to switch more easily on defense. Green suggested Golden State's "plan" was a bit more informal.

"We implemented our strategy like 15 minutes before we left the locker room," Green told reporters after the game. "So I don't necessarily think we put together a full defensive strategy."

"I thought it was fun to try," Green added. "I was actually all for it, like, 'Let's try it and see if it works.' If it doesn't, oh well. If it does, we found something. All right, it didn't work, so we move on."

Golden State's bizarre strategy is a testament to Boston's success this season, as opponents have thrown all sorts of defensive game plans at the Celtics in attempts to slow down the NBA's third-best offense.

So far, not much has worked.

Joe Mazzulla shares his reaction to the Warriors decision to leave Jaylen Brown open in the first quarter

"We were really grateful for that," Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said of the Warriors' defense on Brown. "... I just kept saying thank you and kept empowering Jaylen, and credit to his teammates for empowering him to just continue to play."

The Celtics should expect more creative game plans in the postseason as teams throw everything they have at Boston defensively. But considering the way Brown responded to Golden State's strategy Sunday, opponents may want to cross "Leave Jaylen Brown wide open" off their list.

"It was a little disrespectful to me, but it is what it is," Brown added. "I came out and I did what I do best. My teammates empowered me. They were like, 'We don't care if you shoot every shot down.' On this team, it's about making the right plays, letting guys feel involved, and I feel like I've been doing that all season long. ... But don't get it twisted."

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