Young hits big shots, plays strong defense vs. Nets


BOSTON – For one brief stretch of play on Monday night, it seemed as though Boston Celtics wing James Young was transported back in time.

The game was close.

He knocked down big shots.

His team won.

It was an all-too familiar script that he played out to perfection in his lone season at the University of Kentucky.

But here in the NBA, those opportunities have been extremely rare and limited, kind of like Young’s playing time.

For Young who came to Boston as a big-time shot maker, his timing to start hitting a few (Boston has until Nov. 2 to pick up the third year on his rookie contract) is pretty good.

In his last two games, Young has averaged eight points per game while shooting 66.7 percent on 3s.

And on Monday, they weren’t just in-the-flow-of-the-game 3s.

They were important, game-shifting 3s that factored heavily in Boston turning a one-possession game into a double-digit lead that put them on track to come away with a 111-106 win over Brooklyn.

For head coach Brad Stevens, Young’s work in practice is starting to translate into games.

“The last couple of weeks, his workout shooting has been really good,” Stevens said. “It didn’t surprise me that he made those shots.”

Just as impressive was the fact that Young had sat on the bench for long stretches Monday night, only to come in and drain a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter that put Boston ahead 97-90.

Moments later he had a chance for a 4-point play (he missed the free throw) when he drilled another 3-pointer that made it a 100-90 game with 5:13 to play.

“It’s hard to be fairly cold and play 14 straight minutes or whatever he played, and make big ones (shots),” Stevens said.

Even though Young’s shot-making was on full display Monday night, he maintains that his focus is still to continue improving as a defender which he knows is the best way to get on the floor for a Celtics team that’s extremely deep on the perimeter.

Of the Celtics who played 15 or more minutes on Monday, Young had the best defensive rating of 91.6.

“I just try to do both, score when I can and play defense all the time,” he told “In college I got the ball a lot more. Here, there’s more limited touches. I just have to play defense all the time and take shots when they’re there for me to take.”


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