By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics had the band back together on Monday night. Jaylen Brown returned after an eight-game absence with a hamstring injury, making the Celtics whole for the first time in nearly three weeks.

Brown showed some rust after the lengthy layoff, but helped Boston throw a fierce offensive punch at the Houston Rockets on Monday. He scored 19 points over 23 minutes, as the Celtics won their third straight, 108-90. Brown hit six of his 13 shots from the floor, included three of his six attempts from three-point range.

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The 25-year-old was happy to be back, but said he still has some work to do in order to regain his usual form. He experienced some hamstring tightness early in the first quarter, but once he shook that off, Brown took off.

“It felt good to be back out there, just being with my teammates and competing,” Brown said after the win. “I didn’t feel my best out there. I felt good going all the way up until the game, then I had a little bit of tightness. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow and keep building. I wasn’t super happy with how my body felt. We’re working through it.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka essentially gave Brown four six-minutes stints on Monday night, and Brown was seen keeping his body in motion during his time on the bench. He absolutely dominated one of those stretches, too, scoring 12 of his points over a five-minute stretch in the third quarter. That included a personal 10-0 burst in less than a minute in the middle of a 24-2 Celtics run in the third quarter.

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Brown got his run started with a pair of free throws to put Boston up 64-50. He got an easy two in the paint before sinking back-to-back threes to give the Celtics a 22-point lead. It’s that stretch that illustrates just how important it is to have Brown back in the mix — and a healthy Brown at that.

“He got warm and then went on that flurry in the third quarter,” said Udoka. “He said it still doesn’t feel normal, but to have him back in that third quarter and see what he did, was a great sign.”

Brown is no stranger to hamstring issues, and said that he is doing some things differently this time around. He hopes to be back at full speed and full strength within the coming days.

“This one seems to be lingering a little bit,” he said. “But I think that in the next coming days, I’ll get back to feeling 100 percent and we’ll get back to adding some wins. This group has played extremely well while I’ve been out. I’ve seen a lot of steps forward from a lot of guys that makes me excited about our potential. I just want to continue to add value, play off those guys and keep winning games.”

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The Celtics have now won three straight and eight of their last 11 to improve to 10-8 on the season. Staff