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Jaylen Brown focused on winning with Boston Celtics, not All-NBA snub

BOSTON -- One night after being snubbed from making a second straight All-NBA team, Jaylen Brown made a statement by leading the Celtics to a Game 2 win over the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

One of the NBA's most underappreciated stars was cooking all night at TD Garden, breaking out all of his moves in a 40-point explosion in Boston's 126-110 victory. He was the best player on the court in Game 2, and has been Boston's best player for much of the playoffs. 

So was Brown motivated by the All-NBA snub as he went out and matched his playoff career-high on Thursday night?

"No, I wouldn't say that," Brown said casually Boston's win. 

Pressed further, Brown made it clear that being excluded from the All-NBA teams is not on his mind at the moment.

"We're two games from the Finals. Honestly, I don't have time to give a [fudge]," said Brown. (Only he didn't say fudge.)

The only thing that Brown gives a fudge about right now is winning. And he has contributed plenty to the Celtics' 10-2 record this postseason.

"He has it going," Boston point guard Jrue Holiday said of Brown. "Y'all see what I see. Great player, great leader, and he wants to win. I love it. … The way JB has been playing is outstanding."

Brown kept the Celtics alive in Game 1 with his clutch three to tie the game with 5.7 seconds on the clock. He carried that mojo over to Game 2, attacking the basket and keeping the Pacers on their heels. And he continues to play outstanding defense, another aspect of his game that was overlooked by the league when he didn't make any of the All-Defensive teams either. 

Brown says he doesn't care about those awards, but his head coach believes that he does. At least in a way that fuels his fire on the floor.

"I think he cares about it in a way that motivates him, but he doesn't care about it at all," Joe Mazzulla said of Brown. "He understands that winning is the most important thing. He has the innate ability to just get better and work hard. He has unreal confidence. He's also not afraid to work on things he knows he has to get better at.

"He just cares about the right stuff," added Mazzulla. "I do think stuff like that motivates him, but he just wants to get better. I really enjoy coaching him and watching him work."

Celtics fans have enjoyed watching Brown go to work throughout his eight-year career, and his passion and desire is evident every time he touches the ball or locks someone up on defense. Unfortunately for Brown -- who is playing in his sixth Eastern Conference Finals -- having his abilities discounted by others is nothing new for the 27-year-old.

Even Celtics fans are guilty of it, booing Brown's selection at a draft party at TD Garden in 2016. While that reaction had more to do with Danny Ainge making a pick and not trading for an established star, it wasn't the best start to a professional career for Brown.

But as he did with every All-Star, All-Defensive, and All-NBA snub along the way, Brown buried it deep and used it as fuel to further his game. He's done that every single season of his career, working hard in the offseason to fine-tune the good parts and improve on the areas that needed to be better. He always returns with some new trick in his bag, whether it's a new offensive move that gets him to the rim or a defensive trick that helps him lock up the opposing team's best player.

"I watch guys get praised and anointed that I feel like are half as talented as me on either side of the ball. At this point I embrace it," Brown said Thursday. "It comes with being who I am and what I stand for, and I'm not changing that. I'm grateful to step on the floor every night and put my best foot forward. Whether people appreciate it or not, it is what it is."  

That is simply who Jaylen Brown is. Good enough is never good enough for him, and he's going to do anything it takes to win basketball games for the Boston Celtics.

At some point, Brown will get the appreciation that he deserves. If he keeps playing the way he has this postseason and brings a title to Boston, his doubters will have no choice but to recognize his greatness on the floor.

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