Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown removed his mask during the second quarter of his team's crucial Game 4 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday — and the different look was a huge factor for the 26-year-old in the victory.
“Maybe it was all in my head, but I just needed a different look,” Brown explained, according to ESPN's Coley Harvey. “As soon as I took it off, things started to turn around a little bit.”
Things certainly did turn around once the guard changed face.
After being held to two points on 1-of-7 shooting over the first 15 minutes of Game 4 in Atlanta, Brown scored 29 points on 11-for-15 shooting from the field, per Harvey. Brown finished with 31 points, tying for the team lead with Jayson Tatum as the Celtics secured a massive 129-121 win on the road.
“I was talking to [Marcus] Smart when JB took his mask off and was like, ‘Oh, s**t. It's go time,'” Tatum said after the victory. “I knew he was going to turn it up a notch.”
Brown had been wearing the face mask in games since the middle of February after sustaining a cheekbone fracture in a Feb. 8 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, per Harvey.
The minor change led to major results for the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
“I've just started getting comfortable with it since I've been wearing it,” the Atlanta native said. “When I first put it on, I didn't like it too much, and I had to wear it. I just needed something different. I don't know what it was: Change my shoes, take the mask off, whatever it is I needed to do, I needed to do to help our team get a win, and that's what I was trying to do.”
And that's exactly what Jaylen Brown did, playing a key role in his team opening up a 3-1 series lead headed back to Boston for Game 5 on Tuesday.
Whether or not he puts the mask back on for the affair at TD Garden, if he plays like he did in Game 4, it's likely the series won't be going back to Georgia.