BOSTON, MA — Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown wasn't selected to an All-NBA Team on Wednesday night, and he proceeded to prove the voters wrong the very next day during the Green Team's 126-110 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The three-time All-Star dazzled with 40 points on Thursday evening, which is especially impressive given that he hit the biggest shot of the Celtics' 2024 postseason run in Game 1 as well. Although the Pacers kept it close in the first half, their turnovers and inconsistent defense couldn't stop the C's from taking a 2-0 series lead.

Game 3 will tip off on Saturday in Indiana, where the Pacers have yet to lose a game this playoffs. But before that showdown in Hoosierland, let's break down the Celtics' Game 2 victory with three takeaways.

Jaylen Brown was sensational in Game 2 

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) shoots the ball past Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith (23) in the first half during game two of the eastern conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at TD Garden.
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

No matter what the Pacers did defensively, they couldn't slow down Jaylen Brown.

His 40-point performance tied a playoff career-high, which he set back in the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.

“Just continues to get better and better,” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said of Brown following the double-digit win. “He takes a lot of pride in his ability to impact games in different ways, and I thought he did that tonight.”

Brown also had five rebounds, two assists, and one steal while going an efficient 14-for-27 from the field. And despite shooting an abysmal 45% from the free throw line in the first round of the 2024 playoffs, he went 8-for-11 (72.7%) from the charity stripe in Game 2.

The Georgia native has been the best player on the court so far in the Eastern Conference Finals. That's big for the Celtics, especially on a night when Jayson Tatum struggled offensively and they were again without center Kristaps Porzingis.

He has it going. Y’all see what I see,” guard Jrue Holiday said of Brown during his postgame presser. “Great player, great leader, but wants to win and takes things into his own hands. Having a guy like that on my side, I love it. I’ll ride for him, and whatever I can do to obviously get that win is needed. The way JB has been playing, man, it’s outstanding.”

All-NBA or not, Brown has delivered on both ends of the floor.

We fought better in this game,” he said. “There’s still some stuff we can clean up but I think we fought, so that was the most important thing.”

Oshae Brissett helps the Celtics out of a tricky spot

Brown's dominance tied a game-high plus-minus rating of plus-18. The other Celtic who shared that excellent rating was a bit of a surprise.

Celtics forward Oshae Brissett didn't play at all in Game 1 against the Pacers. In fact, he was on the court for 15 minutes altogether this postseason.

Then Game 2 happened, and center Luke Kornet exited early with a wrist injury and never came back. Even though Brissett isn't a big man, he's still 6-foot-7 and best of all, well-acquainted with Indiana's system.

The former Pacer notched two points, three rebounds, and three steals during his 12-minute stint. He was also in the lineup for part of Boston's 20-0 run in the second quarter. The box score doesn't really show it, but Brissett's active hands on defense and strong rebounding had a significant impact.

“Just his presence, his energy, his athleticism,” Mazzulla said when asked about what Brissett provided for the C's. “I think he had a dunk, got a steal, got us out in transition with a couple [of] rebounds. So just, he plays with such a high level of intensity and energy. It's big for us.”

His solid minutes allowed Celtics center Al Horford to get some much-needed rest. The 37-year-old big played a whopping 40 minutes during Boston's Game 1 win in overtime. That was the most minutes Horford had played all postseason and in spite of his impressive stamina for an NBA veteran, playing time like that undoubtedly takes a toll.

On Thursday, Horford was in for just 25 minutes, his lowest output since Game 5 of the first round. Since Kornet's status is up in the air and Porzingis is still out for the time being, keeping Horford spry is essential. Thanks to Brissett, the elder statesman of the Celtics was able to rest a little easier heading into Saturday's Game 3.

Payton Pritchard continues to shine off the bench

The beauty of the NBA playoffs is that while the stars get the limelight, role players and bench guys can win games.

Celtics point guard Payton Pritchard didn't have an insane showing in Game 2, yet he did enough to boost Boston's offense at important points of the game.

For example, when the Pacers were trying to stay afloat in the third quarter, Pritchard rattled off five points in 34 seconds. His personal 5-0 run, including a wide-open triple in the corner and a layup, pushed the Celtics' lead to 14 points with under three minutes left in the third. The Pacers then essentially waved the white flag in the final frame, with center Myles Turner never seeing the court and star forward Pascal Siakam not even playing three minutes.

Pritchard finished with 12 points, two rebounds, and two assists. The Oregon product did all that in 19 minutes and managed to score in double figures for the fifth time this playoffs.

If the Celtics can continue to get this kind of production from Pritchard, that'll definitely help soften the blow of Porzingis' absence. The Latvian big man could potentially return for Game 4 in Indiana, but the C's will want to ensure he's feeling up to the challenge instead of rushing his re-entry and risking further injury.

Speaking of injury, Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton injured his leg in the third quarter and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

His status remains unclear for Game 3 in Indianapolis.

Regardless of Haliburton's presence, the Celtics will aim to stay unbeaten on the road and take a commanding 3-0 lead on Saturday evening.