On Saturday evening, Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics used a late comeback to pick up a crucial Game 3 win vs the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, giving them a commanding 3-0 lead, from which no team in NBA history has ever recovered. While Brown didn't quite match the 40 points he scored in Game 2 of this series, he still made several key plays for the Celtics down the stretch, including an impressive dunk with just a few minutes remaining in the game.

Recently, Brown found himself the subject of criticism from ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, who cited an unnamed “source” in essentially calling Brown a diva.

“I wanted to read to y’all what an NBA source just sent me,” Smith said on First Take. “He said, ‘Jaylen Brown, it’s not so much that he’s underrated, it’s that he’s just not liked because of his I-am-better-than-you attitude. He knows it. It’s the same reason he is not as marketable as he should be.’ That’s what an NBA source just sent me.”

One person who isn't here for the disrespect is legendary NBA point guard Isiah Thomas (not former Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas), who recently took to his account on X, the social media platform formerly referred to as Twitter, to fire back at Smith.

I have been a friend, mentor and advisor to (Jaylen Brown) since he was a student at UC Berkeley he is 100 percent marketable and before you slander his name @stephenasmith tell your source to put their name on it or don’t speak on it. Let it be known,” wrote Thomas.

Now, Smith is responding to Thomas' assertion.

I have no idea what you’re talking about  @IsiahThomas. I have been a fan of Jaylen Brown for years. Still am. What’s unfortunate is that YOU — who’s known for me decades — would choose to go on X to expressed whatever dissent you feel instead of calling me directly. But I get it. It’s a pattern several folks have used vs me recently, suddenly forgetting communication we’ve always had. So be it. I root for JB always—a great dude and player. But the @celtics have to close the deal,” wrote Smith.

Of course, Smith never actually answered Thomas' question and cited his alleged source, so it remains in question whether said source is a legitimate person with knowledge of Brown's demeanor.

Can the Celtics break through?

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) passes the ball against Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard (left) and forward Obi Toppin (right) during the fourth quarter of game three of the eastern conference finals in the 2024 NBA playoffs at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY

The Celtics are now just five wins away from hoisting their first NBA championship trophy in 16 years. Thus far, their march to the Finals has been a cakewalk, as every team they've faced has had their best player, and in some cases second or third best player, miss time due to injury, while Boston is only missing its fourth best player in Kristaps Porzingis.

Still, considering their regular season dominance, it's not bold to guess that the Celtics probably would have been in this position either way, even if it may have taken them a few more games.

In any case, Game 4 vs the Pacers is set for Monday evening.