Perhaps James will dismiss Brown’s remarks as the misguided utterances of a rookie barely out of his teens. The Celtics might want to hope so, given that they hardly needed to see James playing with a higher level of motivation in Friday’s matchup.
In fairness, Brown was talking about the mind-set he needs to take on James. Nevertheless, bulletin boards rarely feature full context, and the first-year Celtic’s comments are likely to be noted by the Cavs.
“LeBron’s a good player, but I look at him as just a regular guy to me,” Brown said. “So I’ve got to come out and compete just like he’s got to come out and compete. I’ve got to tie my shoes just like he ties his shoes. There’s bigger threats in my neighborhood than LeBron James, so I have no fear — I have no fear whatsoever of LeBron.”
James has been on a tear ever since falling behind the Warriors 3-1 in last year’s Finals. Since then, he has led the Cavs to a 12-0 postseason record, and in this year’s playoffs, he’s averaging 34.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.3 blocks, while shooting at least 50 percent from the field in every game.
In other words, no one has been able to stop him. Brown, while highly regarded for his burgeoning defensive skills, is not likely to be the first. His words before Game 2 might have been the last thing the Celtics needed, but at least he gets credit for bravado.
Or was it just a typical rookie mistake? We’ll know if James dunks on Brown in Game 2, then says something about being “just a regular guy.”
Update: So, um, yeah, major rookie mistake. James led all scorers with 22 points and notched a mind-boggling plus-minus figure of plus-40 — in the first half. The Cavs went on to blow out the Celtics, 130-86, although Brown acquitted himself reasonably well on the offensive end, scoring a team-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting.