For Celtics fans last night was a joyous rout of our bottom feeding arch-rival donning the purple and gold. There's nothing "Showtime" about the 2016-17 Los Angeles Lakers. The C's dominated the Lakers from the opening tip in just about every way imaginable. This was really no surprise as the Celtics sit at 2nd in the Eastern Conference, fresh off a huge win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Lakers dwell at 2nd-to-last in the entire NBA with 6 straight L's and no hope in sight for another win - which is pretty much what they're going for anyway.
With LA in full tank mode I assumed that this game could get ugly, but I was really looking forward to seeing Jaylen Brown vs Brandon Ingram. The last time these two teams met in Boston, exactly a month ago (Feb. 3rd), both players started and played well. Brown scored 12 points and pulled down 7 rebounds and Ingram tallied 14 points and 6 boards with both guys playing 32 minutes in what was a much more contested contest - a 113-107 Celtics victory. I anticipated a similiar solid matchup between the two last night, but it turned out to be a bloodbath:
Jaylen Brown had a night ... Brandon Ingram left some room for improvement #CSNstats pic.twitter.com/aAxTNN6FcG— The Celtics on CSN (@CelticsCSN) March 4, 2017
While Ingram didn't register a single bucket Jaylen was busy putting on a helluva show:
THIS ON REPEAT 🔁 pic.twitter.com/SvNtcEzNlV— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 4, 2017
The look on this kid's face says it all:
After the game Avery Bradley joked he thought Jaylen would already be looking up the highlights:
"I know he was online already probably looking at it," Avery Bradley says with a smile of Jaylen Brown's MJ-like layup.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 4, 2017
Brown spoke with reporters after the game and confirmed Bradley's assumption. He also talked about being an afterthought in what NBA experts called a "two player draft" last year, and how it motivates him:
Now even though Jaylen showed up Ingram last night, we surely can't judge these two guys on one game. Taking a look back on the season as a whole who's been better? You can't really go on their per-game averages because Brown was barely seeing the court prior to Bradley's injury and Ingram has been playing big minutes for the Lakers since the beginning of the season. For the season Brown averages just over 16 minutes a game to Ingram's 26. Obviously this has a lot to do with one of them being on a contending team and the other playing for a franchise that's been circling the toilet the last couple of season. So the best way to compare the two is to compare their production per-36 minutes of floor time. Via NBA.com:
Looking at those numbers you'd think these two guys have had similar success this year. They're close enough that even if you gave Brown the slight edge here in terms of production it's certainly not substantial - that is until you factor in their efficiency. Ingram is shooting a paltry 36.9 percent from the field (29.3 percent from three) which is last among NBA rookies. Brown qualifies for 3rd in FG% among rookies at 44.7 percent behind only Willy Herangomez and fake rookie Joel Embiid - both big guys who do the bulk of their scoring from around the basket.
Our man Justin Quinn broke down the Rookie of the Year candidates and made a compelling case for Brown; although he admits that it will be tough for Brown to take down the award do to his lack of usage at the start of the season. But if we've learned anything in Boston it's that anything's possible. You know who doesn't rank among the contenders in any way? Ingram. He's not even in the conversation and for good reason.
Make no mistake, Ingram is a young kid and he's certainly shown some flashes of brilliance this season. I'm certainly not out on him long-term, but if we're comparing Brown to Ingram in year one it's not close. While most Celtics fans were disappointed (myself included) that the C's didn't add a veteran a the trade deadline amid their chief competition loading up, Danny Ainge noted that the Celtics were getting a better acquisition just by getting Avery Bradley back in the lineup after an extended absence. I would argue that the emergence of Jaylen Brown this past month might be just as important if the Celtics want to make a deep playoff run:
Jaylen Brown last 10 games: 17.4 PTS and 7.7 REB per 40 on 56% from 2 and 40.7% from 3. In a league hungry for good wings, Cs got one at #3. pic.twitter.com/8cLXIgA5rJ— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) March 4, 2017
If last year's draft was really a two-man deal, I'm pretty sure the Celtics got one of them.
Related: Player highlights from last night - Celtics vs. Lakers - March 3, 2017
Photo Credit - Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 3/04/2017 12:45:00 PM Tweet Edit