NBA

Celtics a changed team since 2022 NBA Finals defeat, says Brown

By Sports Desk May 28, 2024

The Boston Celtics return to the NBA Finals as a different team to that beaten by the Golden State Warriors two years ago, says their Eastern Conference finals hero Jaylen Brown.

Brown won the Larry Bird Trophy as Eastern Conference finals MVP on Monday, having helped the top-seeded Celtics complete a 4-0 series sweep of the Indiana Pacers.

In Game 4, Brown sank 10 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics recovered from a nine-point deficit with under nine minutes left for a 105-102 victory.

The Celtics have reached the Eastern Conference finals six times in the last eight years but this is just the second time they have progressed to the NBA Finals in that run. They last did so in 2021-22, only to be beaten 4-2 by the Warriors.

Brown believes they have become a better team for that experience, however.

"We feel like we're a different team than we were last year and the year before that," Brown said. 

"I know everybody wants to continue to pigeonhole us with what was happening in the past but we've had a different team every single year, different coaches, we've had like three coaches in the last five years. 

"Still people want to make it seem like it's the same, it's the same, it's the same.

"Time has gone by, experience has been gained and I think we are ready to put our best foot forward."

Jayson Tatum supported Brown with 26 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists on Monday, while Jrue Holiday had 17 points and Derrick White tacked on 16.

"It's special," Tatum said. "Even though we've been there before, most of us have, you don't take it for granted. We were excited.

"It was a hell of a team we just played, they made us earn every single game and we're extremely grateful to move on to the Finals."

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