NEW YORK — Jaylen Brown missed Thursday’s 109-98 victory over the Brooklyn Nets because of an adductor strain, and Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said there is a chance the injury could sideline the guard/forward for “a week or so.”
Brown erupted for 41 points during Boston’s win over the Pelicans on Wednesday but said afterward that he tweaked his groin and would be evaluated before determining if he could play against Brooklyn. He declined an interview request before Thursday’s game as he exited the locker room to do a workout.
“I’m not sure what the timeline is,” Mazzulla said. “I know he tried to give it a go today, and wasn’t able to do it. We’ll know more the next couple days, see how he responds.”
Brown is averaging 27.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 49.8 percent from the field, all career highs. He is on track to be named an All-Star for the second time.
Forward Al Horford also sat out against the Nets. He was officially listed as out due to back soreness, but Horford has yet to play in games on back-to-back nights this season. Guard Marcus Smart, meanwhile, returned after missing two games because of a knee contusion, and center Robert Williams was back after sitting out Wednesday due to left knee management.
The Nets were without star forward Kevin Durant, who is expected to miss about a month after spraining the MCL in his right knee.
Tatum’s All-Star position improves
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum leapfrogged Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid in the All-Star fan vote and moved into third place among Eastern Conference frontcourt players.
Tatum, who was fourth when returns were released last week, has 3,281,124 votes, putting him in the final starting frontcourt slot, slightly ahead of Embiid, who has 3,248,733 votes. Durant and Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo remain in first and second, respectively, more than a million votes ahead of Tatum and Embiid.
Brown, meanwhile, is in fourth place among Eastern Conference guards, with 1,512,322 votes. He is about 60,000 votes behind Philadelphia’s James Harden, but more than 1.2 million behind Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers and 1.5 million behind Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving.
Fans will account for half of the overall vote for All-Star starters, with NBA players and a media panel counting for one quarter each. Starters will be announced Jan. 26.
White fights for blocks
Derrick White is averaging one block per game this season, second among guards in the NBA behind only Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder (1.1). Mazzulla said he really noticed White’s skills as a rim protector during the conference finals against the Miami Heat last season. Boston’s defense switched on screens less frequently during that series, and White was able to fight through them, putting him in position to make big plays.
“He does a great job of doing that,” Mazzulla said, “and when he does get beat, he does a great job of giving a second effort, which he did on the [block of Ayo Dosunmu against the Chicago Bulls last week] where we kind of messed up the coverage on the side out of bounds and he did a great job of keeping going for it.”