Watch Jaylen Brown introduce himself to LeBron James with highlight dunk and rebound

The 20-year-old rookie shined in his first career start as a Celtic

Cavaliers forward LeBron James fights for the ball with Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown. AP

Jaylen Brown made his first career NBA start on Thursday night in place of an injured Jae Crowder. His first assignment? Go head-to-head against LeBron James.

Facing off against the four-time MVP is a tough matchup for any player, but the 20-year-old did not back down from the challenge. In fact, Brown took the ball right at James in the first half and finished with authority.

That play was just one of several promising plays by Brown in the debut start for the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-7 forward also had the internet buzzing late in the contest when he showcased plenty of athleticism while fighting off 6-foot-10 Kevin Love for a offensive rebound.


Brown ultimately finished with an impressive all-around line over 35 minutes of action, posting 19 points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block. He also had a team-high +15 in plus/minus in the 128-122 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The performance earned the rookie some praise from his head coach and potentially some respect from James as well.

“I thought he played really hard. Obviously made shots and did a lot of good things,” Brad Stevens told reporters in Cleveland. “If he can bring that same tenacity and focus, especially defensively, he can keep getting better. That’s what you want. I thought today was a good step in the right direction.”


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com