Struggling Kyrie Irving Admits This About Celtics’ Jaylen Brown

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The Boston Celtics hold a 2-0 series lead over the Dallas Mavericks, and they have a chance to put a stranglehold on the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

While Luka Doncic has been everything as advertised for Dallas, including a triple-double in Game 2, Jaylen Brown continues to be Boston’s best player, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by former teammate Kyrie Irving.

“He’s been playing great,” Irving told reporters following Mavericks practice on Tuesday, per league-provided transcripts. “He’s been one of the emotional leaders on the team. Defensively he’s making it difficult. That’s what he’s been doing all year. For the past few years, he’s tried to make his mark on that end. “

Brown’s teammates recognize how he has grown defensively and believe he was snubbed by not being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team. Irving may not have come right out and said Brown was snubbed, but he acknowledged how strong that aspect of Brown’s game is.

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“When you take pride in what you do on the defensive end, it’s going to show. I think he’s been separating himself on that end,” Irving said. “Offensively — to be able to do it on both ends of the floor is even more impressive. This is what makes the Finals even greater, going against somebody on that end, high energy, make it difficult. But we got to go straight at him.”

The Celtics star was named the Eastern Conference finals MVP and is making a strong case to become the Finals MVP as well. In the two games against the Mavericks, Brown has averaged 29.5 points, 4.5 assists, five rebounds and one block. Irving has struggled against his former team. He is shooting just over 35% from the field and has a combined 28 points in the series.

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