Morning sports update: Jaylen Brown says the Celtics are going to the NBA Finals. ‘No question about it.’

"It doesn't matter if we are the favorite in the East or predicted to win 10 games in the East — you got to come out and play."

Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics
Jaylen Brown reacts after making a three point basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. –Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Rafael Devers returned from the disabled list and hit a two-run home run as the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 10-5 on Wednesday night. Brian Johnson won his second straight start for the Sox, who extended their winning streak to six games.

Jaylen Brown: ‘We’re getting to the Finals. No question about it.’

Jaylen Brown is tired of the narrative that claims LeBron James’s decision to join the Lakers cleared the road for the Celtics to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Not because Boston isn’t going to the championship round — Brown guaranteed a Finals appearance — but because he believes the Celtics would have beaten James even if he stayed in the East.

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“Oh, we’re getting to the Finals,” Brown said on the Pull Up podcast with Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum. “No question about it.”

“But I hate how everyone’s like, ‘LeBron’s gone in the East.’ I know he did have a stronghold on the East for the past seven years but he barely got up out of there this year. Our mindset was like, ‘He’s not beating us again.’ That’s what our mindset was. We had a bunch of young guys who could really play and we didn’t back down from nobody.”

The 21-year-old wing noted preseason predictions won’t hold much sway once the season begins.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if we are the favorite in the East or predicted to win 10 games in the East — you got to come out and play,” Brown said. “Simple. It’s like a 2K rating: nobody cares.”

Speaking of that video game, Brown related that Kyrie Irving called him as soon as news broke that NBA 2K had given Brown an 84 overall rating. The Celtics star point guard wanted to know how his teammates felt about the perceived slight.

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“I was like, ‘Kyrie, I do not give a f*** about no 2K rating,” Brown laughed. “He’s like, ‘Bro they played you. They played you.’ That’s Kyrie, though. He’s more entertained by it than I was. For me, I don’t even feel comfortable that someone’s able to rate me. I don’t even know how I feel about that in the first place. But it’s a video game, I’m not losing no sleep.”

Brown might not be sourcing any additional drive from his 2K rating, but he sounds plenty motivated heading into his third season. He expects Celtics training camp and practices to be “super competitive” as the loaded roster dukes it out for the limited playing time available.

McCollum, a career 84.2 percent free throw shooter, challenged Brown to improve from the line. He pointed out the difference between Brown’s shooting percentage from beyond the arc (39.5 percent) and at the charity stripe (64.4 percent) last season.

McCollum, who led the NBA in free throw shooting two years ago (91.2 percent), admonished Brown for shooting so poorly from the charity stripe, noting that he can’t be a 39 percent 3-point shooter and struggles from the line. Brown told McCollum he’s working on it right now.

“Everything has been centered around that because I feel like once I make that improvement, you’ll see another big jump from year two to year three,” he said.

5 things to know ahead of the Patriots’ first preseason game: On Thursday night, Tom Brady probably won’t play much — if at all. Wide receiver Julian Edelman is eligible to play, even though he is suspended for the Patriots’ first four regular-season games. Don’t expect Bill Belichick to show his hand during this one; New England’s head coach is barely above .500 (39-34) in preseason play. (Boston.com)

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Jerry Remy explains why his latest cancer diagnosis has been especially difficult to accept: The former Red Sox second baseman and longtime color analyst has suffered multiple recurrences since he was first diagnoses with lung cancer 10 years ago. Remy said this one has “been hard because we really didn’t expect it.”

“It’s like . . . this is never going to stop,” he said. “We didn’t anticipate this result.” (Boston.com)

David Ortiz has high praise for J.D. Martinez: Through 107 games, Martinez leads the league in home runs, RBIs, and total bases. Ortiz said he saw this success coming from the first time he saw Martinez swinging at spring training.

“I saw him for about three or four days hitting batting practice every day,” the retired Red Sox slugger said. “I walked out of that field like I just saw a ghost. That’s how impressed I was.” (Boston.com)

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September 19, 2018 | 4:42 PM