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CELTICS NOTEBOOK

Lingering knee problem keeps Jaylen Brown out of Sunday’s Celtics game

Jaylen Brown, shown during the Feb. 12 loss to Detroit in which he played 36 minutes, wasn't available on Sunday night against Washington due to his balky left knee.
Jaylen Brown, shown during the Feb. 12 loss to Detroit in which he played 36 minutes, wasn't available on Sunday night against Washington due to his balky left knee.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Celtics forward Jaylen Brown missed Sunday’s last-second win against the Wizards due to left knee soreness. Coach Brad Stevens said he is day-to-day.

“He was a little bit sore [Saturday],” Stevens said. “His knee flared up a little bit.”

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge revealed earlier this month that Brown is battling mild tendinitis in the knee. Brown missed the Feb. 5 game against the Clippers and the Feb. 7 game against the Suns due to the issue.

Brown had played in all 11 games since then, and he averaged 36.3 minutes over four last week. He was just 11 for 28 in the last two, causing his field goal percentage to dip below 50 percent for the first time since the season’s opening week.

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Guard Marcus Smart remained out with a calf strain, and wing Romeo Langford continues to recover from offseason wrist surgery. Boston has just two games remaining before the All-Star break, but its Thursday matchup against the Raptors could be in question after Toronto had its Sunday game postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.

“We’re going to do pretty much what we’ve done, with regards to minutes [before the break],” Stevens said. “I’m not going to overdo Kemba [Walker’s]. Jayson [Tatum] has been our highest minutes player, and I don’t want to have to go as high as we’ve gone but, obviously, there’s a challenge that comes with that when one of those guys are out.”

Starting in Brown’s place, Javonte Green had 8 points in 33 minutes.

Decisions, decisions for Tatum

Tatum will start the March 7 All-Star Game in place of injured Nets forward Kevin Durant. He said Sunday he’s still considering which pregame competition he will enter, either the Skills Challenge or the 3-point contest. Tatum won the Skills Challenge in 2019 before Heat forward Bam Adebayo took the crown last year. He has never taken part in the 3-point.

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Jayson Tatum goes hard to the basket late in Sunday's win.
Jayson Tatum goes hard to the basket late in Sunday's win.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Typically, those events are held on the Saturday night prior to the Sunday All-Star Game, but this year all events will take place on Sunday.

Brown has been selected to play in the All-Star Game as a reserve.

Health has helped Washington

The Wizards were just 6-17 before they grabbed a win over the Celtics in Washington on Feb. 14. It was initially viewed as a substantial setback for the Celtics, but it doesn’t look quite as bad now.

That win ignited a stretch in which the Wizards won seven of eight before Sunday’s loss, including victories over the Lakers, Blazers, and Nuggets (twice). Stevens said Washington’s early struggles were a bit deceiving because their roster was decimated by COVID-19 health and safety protocols in January, including a 12-day pause.

“I think that throughout this whole season, a lot of the storylines are about who’s been available,” Stevens said. “And these guys just haven’t had guys available in the early part of the season. They went through as tough of a deal with COVID and games being cancelled and guys being unavailable and everything else as anybody in the league. So it was just a matter of time before they started playing better.”


Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.