The Boston Celtics are currently the holder of the best record in the Eastern Conference (and second-best overall). But in a knockout game, that standing doesn't matter as much.
And on Monday night, the Celtics bowed out of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament after the Indiana Pacers continued their dominance in the competition, defeating them 122-112 thanks in large part to an outstanding performance from Tyrese Haliburton.
While there's certainly disappointment on the Celtics' side of things, especially when they needed to win just three games more (including on Monday night against the Pacers) to hoist the first silverware of the 2023-24 season, Jaylen Brown isn't too upset about going out of the competition. After all, Brown believes, missing out on Las Vegas (by missing out on the final four) isn't too much of a missed opportunity as they have casinos in Boston anyway.
“It’s unfortunate for us we’re not going to Vegas, but I guess we’ll have to settle for Encore in Boston,” Brown said after the game, per Jay King of The Athletic. (For the uninitiated, “Encore” is the name of a luxury hotel and casino in Boston.)
Jaylen Brown has made it clear time and time again that he isn't that big of a fan of the NBA In-Season Tournament. Prior to the start of the tournament, he said that he “wouldn't choose the word ‘excited'” when it comes to describing his feelings about the competition. And his experience throughout didn't exactly do too much to change that perception.
First of all, the Celtics star expressed his frustration over the court floor that's being used in the tournament. The surface tends to be slippery due to the glossiness of the floor, and Brown was on the wrong end of one such play when he strained his groin after slipping.
Brown wasn't exactly a fan as well of the nature with which the Celtics made the knockout stage, as they had to protect the big lead they had against the Chicago Bulls by intentionally sending Andre Drummond to the free-throw line. That drew the ire of Brown as he believes those strategies could compromise the “ethics” of the game.
But now that they're out, Brown won't have to worry about those things anymore, and in doing so, maybe he can enjoy his time at the Encore Casino as well.