The Boston Celtics got back on track with a 101-99 victory over the New York Knicks just one night after getting embarrassed by the Philadelphia 76ers in Boston. It can thank a pregame talk between Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for the latest result.
After he dropped 32 points in the victory, Brown told reporters he pulled Tatum aside before the game to clear their minds and tune out any "outside noise".
“I talked to JT before the game, and we almost had to just forget about everything,” Brown said. “I said, ‘Let’s come out and play basketball. Be aggressive and be the best version of ourselves.’ There’s so much outside noise. ... I just needed to come out and be Jaylen.”
Tatum obliged with 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
With Wednesday's win, the Celtics are now 26-26, 10 games back of the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers in the Atlantic Division and seventh overall in the Eastern Conference.
The NBA's postseason play-in tournament will feature the teams in each conference that finish 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th. Only the top six seeds are guaranteed to appear in the first round of the playoffs, setting the stakes rather high for Boston's home stretch.
That's where the outside noise can quickly get loud.
Things could also change just as quickly. The Charlotte Hornets, currently fourth in the East, are just one game ahead of the Celtics. The opportunities for Boston to jump back up the standings are absolutely there. Its players just needed to take a few moments to remind themselves of the bigger picture.
Brown tried to do that with Tatum on Wednesday. Their pregame chats might need to become a staple of Celtics gamedays considering how well this one worked out.