Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis’ chemistry is growing not only on the court, but off the court as well.
The Celtics stars live in the same building in Boston, and Brown has been able to get to know his new teammate pretty well this season.
“It’s been a joy,” Brown said. “We live in the same building, so I’ve been able to spend some time riding back from the airport with him or whenever. KP is hilarious. He’s funnier than you probably all think, but he’s a good guy. …
“Every time he sees you, he winks at you,” Brown elaborated with a smile. “(I’m like), ‘What are you winking at me for, man?’ But KP is a smooth guy.”
Their connection seems to be translating to the court. Entering Monday’s game against the Knicks, Brown and Porzingis had played 241 minutes together, the third-most of any two-player combination on the Celtics. In those minutes, the duo had an offensive rating of 121.0 and a net rating of 19.3. Their prolific two-man game was on display in Saturday’s win over the Raptors during a dominant third quarter, when they combined to score 26 of the Celtics’ 33 points that included several easy buckets in pick and roll actions.
“We’ve been able to develop some actions that have been pretty good,” Brown said. “(Teams) gotta make a choice between stopping me or stopping him, and you guys have seen a little bit of that.”
Porzingis thinks he and Brown are just getting started.
“It’s just going to get so much better,” Porzingis said. “Like, I’m telling you, you’re just going to see, like it’s going to get a lot better. But I love playing with him. He creates a lot of situations, he draws a lot of attention and it’s just opened things up for myself, for everyone else.”
C’s honor Walker
The Celtics honored late executive Heather Walker on Monday by naming their media center at the Auerbach Center after her.
Walker died in April after battling glioblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer, for almost two years. A beloved member of the Celtics, Walker started the #Move4Heather campaign shortly after diagnosis in 2021 and the movement raised more than $715,000 for the Heather Walker Glioblastoma Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The Heather Walker Media Center ensures her legacy and memory will carry forward.
Walker, who was the Celtics’ vice president of public relations, was a fixture inside the organization. Brown remembered her fondly as someone who helped him behind the scenes soon after he was drafted by the Celtics in 2016.
“Heather Walker meant everything,” Brown said. “She was the person that I worked with a lot early on in my career with media stuff and everything I was doing off the court, in the community, outside of the basketball, Heather was handling and coordinating a lot of that stuff early in my career, so now that she’s no longer with us, it’s extremely sad. But for her to get a media center here in the building named after her, it’s a great way for her, her legacy and her family to be able to be proud about something because Heather was one of my first introductions to Boston.”
Brown took a moment after Monday’s shootaround to go to the media center, which now includes several photos of Walker on the walls leading to the practice court.
“She was just there with me every step of the way,” Brown said. “All of the schools that I visited, community centers, all of the work I was doing early in my career off the court, Heather was there for pretty much everything.”
Entering Monday, Jayson Tatum – with the help of a plus-42 in Saturday’s win over the Raptors – led the NBA in plus/minus by a significant margin. Tatum’s plus-166 was well ahead of the next best, Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards who had a plus-121.
“I just try to make good things happen when I’m on the floor, play right away, and try to impact winning. I don’t necessarily think about plus/minus, I just try to go out there every time I’m on the floor and do the things that help us win. So hopefully I can keep that up because that means I’m doing something right.” …
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau played at Salem State and it’s where he got his coaching start in the early 1980s. He said he had a group of teammates at Monday’s night game, which is common. “They’re the ones that are booing,” Thibodeau joked. “They like me, but they love the Celtics.” …
Celtics big man Neemias Queta was out for a 10th game to start the season as he continued to recover from a foot injury. He was participating in some light shooting drills at Monday’s shootaround. … Knicks forward R.J. Barrett was out of Monday’s game due to a migraine.