NBA: Brown leads Celtics past Hawks in 1st round playoffs opener
WASHINGTON- Jaylen Brown scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics over the Atlanta Hawks, 112-99 in their Eastern Conference Playoffs first round opener.
Brown played with a wrapping on cut fingers and a protective mask he has had for two months due to a facial fracture.
“Got to come out and be ready to go,” he said.
“My team depends on me. My city depends on me. I don’t make no excuses. I come out and play ball.”
Jayson Tatum added 25 points and 11 rebounds while Derrick White contributed 24 points for Boston, which used a 20-3 second-quarter run to seize a 74-44 half-time lead.
Atlanta, led by Dejounte Murray’s 24 points, rallied in the second half but could not mount a sustained threat.
“Start on defense,” Brown said. “Coming out and being locked in defensively. That’s a good young team. We’ve got to give them respect and come out and play them tight and stay aggressive.”
Brown wants to avoid second-half fades after building big leads.
“That’s the journey for us, to stay and keep that mentality locked in throughout the playoffs, 48 minutes throughout the game,” he said.
“Tonight we waned a little bit but we will pick it up as the playoffs go on.”
Saturday’s other Eastern Conference first-round series opener finds New York at Cleveland while the Western Conference opener sends defending champion Golden State to Sacramento, where the host Kings make their first playoff appearance since 2006.
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