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If you want to figure out a magician's magic trick, don't look at the hand waving high in the air that is supposed to get your attention. Look at the other hand for the solution. When Marcus Morris shoved Jaylen Brown during a huddle in the loss to Miami, all of the attention was on the confrontation - not on Gordon Hayward standing, seemingly undisturbed, yards away from the huddle and the action.


Gordon did not have a good game. He scored six points in 20 minutes, adding only one rebound - and also passing off for four assists, He still is the new guy in town with this season really being his first with Boston. His five minutes of action last season does not come close to counting as a full campaign.

From his demeanor, it appears he knew a confrontation was imminent and wanted no part of it. Gordon was never a loud vocal leader in Utah, and most likely won't be one here. Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart have taken on that role, and Smart stepped in effectively in the Morris-Brown dust-up.


The Morris-to-Brown shove never should have happened, but it is the type of action that often happens between competitive teammates. But looking at the magician's other hand, Hayward saw it coming - knew there was an issue.

In an article last month, I proposed that Jaylen Brown was a vital piece for any serious Celtics playoff run. This is what I wrote:

In a playoff clash with the powerhouses of the League, his (Brown's) tool chest of assets is vital for Boston's success. It is only one game - there I go again - but I believe he has found his niche and his game. Fantasy is about to transform into reality. Nice game, Jaylen.

The fact that Gordon knew a blow-up was about to occur is disturbing. There are issues with the Celtics that need to be resolved - for the rest of the season, not for just a few games.

As of this writing, 40% of 226 voters in my Twitter poll went with "Jaylen will find his way." A total of 29% said "Trade him". And 22% said he would be a star in this League.

In last years playoff run, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had similar lines. For Brown: 32 minutes, 18.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 47% on field goals, 39% on threes. For Tatum: 35.9 MPG, 18.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 47% on field goals, 32% on threes.

That is my point. That ability to perform in the heat of the post-season didn't abandon either member of the Jay-Team. The physical tools remain, but the mental portion, particularly for Jaylen, has taken a hit. Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens are in the process of deciding on the future of both players prior to the trade deadline next month. Brown gets into funks, and Tatum still does too much iso-ball. If they see no definite solution - meaning no legitimate shot at a Title this year - Danny will make a rare mid-season move. "Gordon in Orlando" for the huddle told us a lot - maybe too much.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC, @CelticsSentinel and Facebook

Photo via Oscar Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Tom Lane 1/12/2019 06:59:00 AM Edit
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