When Celtics forward Jaylen Brown was not named a starter for the Feb. 19 All-Star game, he reacted to the news with a shrug and said it did not matter. Now that he has been named a reserve, his view of the accomplishment has not changed.
“It feels great,” Brown deadpanned. “It’s the best day of my life.”
Then Brown cracked a wide smile and said he was just joking. He made it clear he does not want to be distracted by individual accomplishments.
“We’ve just got more important things to worry about,” Brown said Friday, before the Celtics lost to the Suns, 106-94, at TD Garden. “I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I think it is a tremendous honor to be recognized. But there’s a lot of great players that are in our league as well.”
This is the second career All-Star selection for Brown, who entered the game averaging 27.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists, and shooting a career-high 49.1 percent from the field. Brown was also an All-Star in 2020-21.
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was voted in as a starter last week for his fourth All-Star appearance, and Boston’s coaching staff will guide the team to be captained by Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“The goal is every year to come out and perform the best I can possibly be and help my team win games,” Brown said. “Whatever happens in the midst of that, I can live with. I feel like this year, I’ve helped my team be in a position to be the No. 1 seed. I feel like I’ve performed to a level, I’ve been injury-free. I’ve been able to have career highs in certain categories, so it definitely makes sense.
“I think when I’m performing at my best and I’m getting better and better every single year, that’s the accolade that I appreciate the most. Anything else that comes with that is fine.”
Brown said he found out he had been chosen for the team on Twitter. He later received a congratulatory text message from president of basketball operations Brad Stevens.
Step back behind the arc
Despite his All-Star season, Brown was shooting a career-low 33.7 percent from the 3-point line. Even though he is also taking a career-high 7.6 3-point attempts per game, Brown attributed his downturn to an evolving role.
“I’m the guy that’s driving to the paint and kind of creating those opportunities for everybody else,” he said. “We’ve got a team that shoots a lot of 3s, so I’m kind of settled in on getting to the basket more this year. That kind of has thrown a little of my dexterity off on my 3-point shooting, but I’m still capable.
“So if I get hot or if I take shots I like, I can still fill it up. But for the most part this year, I’ve been trying to get to the rim.”
Smart’s timetable an unknown
Marcus Smart missed his sixth consecutive game due to a sprained right ankle. Coach Joe Mazzulla said before the game that it’s unclear whether the guard will return to the Celtics’ lineup prior to the All-Star break, which begins after a Feb. 15 game against the Pistons at TD Garden.
Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.