How Jaylen Brown Feels About Playoff Pressure Weighing On Celtics

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Jaylen Brown rose and fired from the corner with just seconds left in regulation, draining a game-tying (and saving) shot as the Celtics began their Eastern Conference finals series against the Pacers.

The three-time All-Star delivered in the most high-pressured moment, although pressure is the last thing Brown’s concerned about.

“I feel a lot less pressure, externally, at least,” Brown said during an exclusive 1-on-1 with NBC Sports Boston. “I’ve always had internal pressure ’cause I expect great things from myself. But I think this year I feel a lot less external pressure than I ever have. Just living in the moment and taking it one game at a time, not adding any unnecessary pressure that is not needed.”

Brown dug Boston out of a divot with the two biggest plays of Game 1; first forcing an Indiana turnover with 10 seconds left, trailing the Pacers, 117-114, and then giving the Celtics new life with the clutch equalizer. That shot — Brown’s only 3-pointer of the night — avoided strengthening the case against Boston’s ability to defend its home floor and helped the Celtics escape with a testing 133-128 victory and 1-0 series lead.

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Before Brown rose the TD Garden crowd on its feet, the Pacers possessed a 71.7% win probability, according to ESPN, cornering the Celtics.

The pressure remains hovering over Boston more than any other team left this postseason, regardless of whether or not Kristaps Porzingis is healthy. With six trips to the conference finals and zero titles to show — in the last eight seasons — Brown and the Celtics aren’t oblivious to the implications the team has brought upon itself.

“We got a talented group,” Brown said. “And I think from the beginning; our challenge would be complacency, our challenge would be comfortability, our challenge would be being able to bring that mindset each and every day. And I think for the most part, during the regular season, we met that challenge. We didn’t get bored. We didn’t get complacent.”

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It wasn’t the smoothest road across the finish line, but the Celtics did validate themselves as a team capable of performing when uncomfortable situations arise — a critical ingredient to any championship recipe.

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