By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The fact that the Celtics had to come back against the seven-win Orlando Magic on their home floor Sunday night was slightly disheartening. The night that Jaylen Brown had, however, was not.

Brown was absolutely electric to close out Boston’s 116-111 overtime victory at TD Garden, dominating the Magic with his running mate, Jayson Tatum, still sidelined with COVID-19. Brown dropped a career-high 50 points in the win, needing just 29 shots to reach that mark.

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Brown hit 19 of his attempts from the floor while going 5-for-10 from three-point land. He also hit seven of his eight free throws for one of his finest shooting performances of his career.

It was when his bouquet of points came that meant the most for Boston. He scored nearly half of his points as he led the Celtics back from a 14-point hole in the fourth quarter, putting in 24 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Brown had 14 points over the final 4:07 of regulation and forced overtime with three straight buckets over the final 100 seconds, giving Boston a 100-98 lead with 30.9 seconds remaining before Tim Frazier tied things up and sent the contest to overtime.

And when the extra frame started, Brown just kept going. He hit just one of his two shots — a deep three to put the C’s on top 108-104 with 1:29 left — but he was still the gear that made it all work in Boston’s offense. After coming down with a long rebound right after his made three, Brown raced down the floor and fed Josh Richardson with a lovely behind-the-back pass for an easy bucket.

It was quite the sequence for Brown, one that you only see out of an ultra-confident player. The fact that he had seven turnovers did not deter Brown from making that pass; he was determined to end the sequence with some easy points and give the Celtics an added cushion for the final 90 seconds.

Brown was focused on making things happen on offense, and not just for himself. He had no idea that he was flirting with a 50-point evening until he hoisted that final shot to reach the mark.

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“To be honest, I didn’t even realize until the last shot when I had 47,” Brown admitted. “Other than that, I was just being aggressive and getting to the basket. I didn’t feel like those guys could stay in front of me, so I was just going to keep getting to the basket, blowing by them on the first step, and I looked up and I had 47 and I was like, ‘Damn.'”

Other than his five threes, all of Brown’s makes came inside the paint or just outside of it. His commitment to driving to the hoop not only led to his eight free throw attempts, but it opened up great looks for his teammates. Brown finished his night with four assists.

Brown now joins a limited group of Celtics players who have scored 50 points in a regular season game: Larry Bird (who did it four times), Sam Jones, Kevin McHale, Paul Pierce, Jayson Tatum (he’s done it twice) and Isaiah Thomas. Add in his 11 rebounds and Brown joins an even more exclusive group, with only Brown, Tatum, Bird and McHale logging 50-10 games in a Celtics uniform.

Pretty good company for Brown.

Sunday night capped off a stellar week for the C’s swingman, who averaged 32 points over four games last week. He’s averaged 28.1 points off 45 percent shooting to go with 7.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists since coming back from a hamstring strain on Dec. 13.

Most important for Brown and the Celtics, though, was that the team notched a much-needed win to get to 18-19 on the season. Brown and company showed some actual resolve and the ability to fight back, which is a promising sign even if it came against a seven-win team.

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“We just needed to [bleeping] win,” Brown said emphatically after the victory.

CBSBoston.com Staff