Jaylen Brown turned in a poor performance when it mattered most.
Brown had as many turnovers (8) as he did made field goals in the Celtics’ 103-84 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
“We failed,” he said. “I failed. We let the whole city down.”
Brown, who led the Celtics in scoring with 19 points, said he was disappointed in the way he played after Jayson Tatum suffered an ankle injury early in the game. Brown said he could see Tatum’s ankle starting to swell, and knew the team would look to him to get them to the finish line.
“He couldn’t move out there,” Brown said. “It was tough for him. My team turned to me to make plays and I came up short, I failed.”
Brown faces a monumental offseason. He is eligible for a five-year, $295-million contract extension that could make him the NBA’s highest-paid player. The Celtics must decide what role Brown plays in the team’s future.
When asked about the upcoming negotiations, Brown demurred.
“It’s hard to think about anything else right now, to be honest,” he said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Other highlights from Brown’s postgame press conference:
On what might be missing for the Celtics to take the next step:
“I’m not sure. All I know is that we had an opportunity and we came up short. We fought hard to get back into this series and had a game on our home floor and we came up short. That’s all I can really gather from the situation right now.”
On Joe Mazzulla’s performance in his first season:
“I give Joe my respect. Tough situation to be in. And he took it and he took it head on and ran with it. We had two rookie head coaches in the last two years, and Joe picking up from Ime [Udoka] as an interim starting off and then progressing as being the head coach, just fully took that challenge on and led us to this point. That’s a tough position for a guy to be in. It’s a tough position for a team to be in. Coming off of a Finals run, but we didn’t make any excuses and I’m not making any excuses now.”
On capitalizing on the window of opportunity with him and Tatum playing together:
“As hard as this one is right now to swallow, you get better. It’s a tough one. Tough one. Tough one for me. Tough one for our team. Tough one for our organization. Extremely bad timing. You just, you learn. That’s a part of the journey. This is not the end. "
On battling back from the 3-0 deficit:
“Tremendous effort from our group. Our group was amazing all year. Consistent. This was one of the most together groups that we’ve had.
“It sucks, right. Even in the moments where we went down 3-0, that group stayed together. And even in the midst of the game tonight where it was rough, this group was tremendously resilient.”
Read more about the end of the Celtics’ season
- Dan Shaughnessy: Celtics’ loss to Heat in Game 7 was a meltdown of epic proportions in Boston sports
- ‘We let the whole city down:’ With momentum on their side, the Celtics tried to make history. Instead, it’s just another bitter end.
- The Celtics finally ran out of gas in Game 7, but it never should have come to this
- Instant analysis: The Celtics’ worst habits showed up at the worst possible time, and their season is over