Celtics forward Jaylen Brown was unimpressed with his team’s — and his own — effort against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the conference finals.
“I thought it was embarrassing,” the 21-year-old said during a light practice at Quicken Loans Arena Sunday. “The way we came out, the way I played.”
Brown — who scored 13 and 14 points in the opening quarters of Games 1 and 2, respectively — finished with just 10 points in Game 3. The Cavaliers constituted a pointed effort to limit him, particularly during the first quarter.
“We changed a couple things up,” coach Ty Lue said after Cleveland’s 116-86 blowout win Saturday. “We know Jaylen’s a first-quarter player. I mean, he plays good throughout the game, but he really sets the tone throughout the first quarter. I thought we did a really good job on him.”
Brown turned the ball over twice, picked up two personal fouls, and was limited to one shot attempt — which he missed — through the first 12 minutes of play in Game 3. Upset with his lack of aggression, Brown said he plans to the use the poor performance as fuel for Game 4 Monday.
“The game is 90 percent mental,” he said. “Everything we do affects our mindset. We can’t look at the last game and get down on ourselves or think we’re out of the series because we lost one game. That’s what the world thinks. That’s what the world wants us to think. We’re going to come out and play some basketball tomorrow, regardless of what anybody has to say.”
After the team’s wretched outing Saturday, Brown anticipates to team will be “more connected” and “more excited” Monday. Holding a 2-1 series lead, Boston will be looking to win just its second road game of the postseason.
“We think we can hang with the best of anybody,” Brown said. “We can’t have a defeated mindset. People think they won one game, they won the series. That’s the first of four. We’re going to come out and play our best basketball.”