By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Jaylen Brown is a pretty cool customer. But boy was he mad after Boston’s heartbreaking Game 3 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night.
Brown took full responsibility for OG Anunoby draining a buzzer beating three off an inbound, handing the Celtics a 104-103 defeat. It looked like Brown was supposed to be guarding Anunoby (though Jayson Tatum may have missed his assignment), but got caught defending Marc Gasol on the play, leaving Anunoby wide open to take Kyle Lowry’s incredible inbound from the other side of the court. Anunoby got the shot off with just 0.5 on the clock, drained it, and gave Toronto some life in the series.
The Boston defense looked pretty disjointed on the play, but Brown shouldered all the blame.
“Just a miscommunication. That’s all that really is. They made a remarkable play at the end. OG snuck along the baseline and we just have to communicate better as a unit. That can’t happen,” said Brown. “We were matched up, OG snuck along the baseline and I didn’t recognize him early enough and he got a wide open look.”
OG Anunoby's reaction >>>pic.twitter.com/QHYtdE3vbv
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That’s when Brown got pretty colorful with his language, which is unusual for the 23-year-old.
“Regardless of what [defense] we were in, we know we have to guard the three-point line. That was just a [flippin’] disgrace at the end of the game. That was just terrible,” he said. “No way we should have lost that game. I take the responsibility, not just for that play but a lot of the plays before.”
It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise solid night for Brown, who hit nine of his 15 shots for 19 points to go with a team-high 12 rebounds. It was his first double-double of the playoffs.
But the ending left a sour taste in his mouth, which he may be washing out with soap later in the night.
“Me being four years in, I have to be better. Can’t give up a three at the end of the game. They made a remarkable shot, but still, it’s a [flippin’] disgrace,”he continued. “It’s terrible. No excuse for it at all. It was ridiculous.
“We just needed one stop to win the [stinkin’] game and we end up losing,” added Brown.
The loss shouldn’t fall completely on Brown. He was stuck on Gasol because center Daniel Theis was caught dancing a bit, and if Brown left Gasol, the Raptors center would have been open underneath for an easy two. Granted, that would have been a lot better for Boston than what ended up happening, but as Brown said, the communication was not great on the final play. That falls on everyone on the floor. And give the Raptors credit, as Nick Nurse drew up a great play to throw the C’s out of whack. Lowry actually said after the game that the Celtics took away their first two options, which were a Fred VanVleet three or a “zipper cut” to Pascal Siakam. Boston blew up the play, forcing Lowry to make his ridiculous pass over 7-foot-5 giant Tacko Fall to Anunoby.
But none of that will take away the sting of Thursday night’s loss. The Celtics let a commanding 3-0 series lead slip away because they couldn’t make one final defensive play, and now the defending champs have a little bit of momentum on their side.
Now it’s up to Boston to put this monumental miscue behind them, and focus on Saturday night’s Game 4.
“We knew they weren’t going to go down without a fight,” said Brown. “We need to be ready for them to throw their next punch. They responded, made a remarkable play at the end of the game. The fight continues.”