While Jaylen Brown’s on-court success sunk the Indiana Pacers and lifted his team to their second NBA Finals in three years, he struggled off it.

Earlier this week, Brown finished 16th in All-NBA voting, one spot short of making the third team. Brown used the snub as motivation, letting his play do the talking. The SG sent the game to overtime in game one with a game-tying three, dropped 40 points in game two and assisted on Derrick White‘s game-winning bucket in game four. Brown became the surprise Larry Bird Eastern Conference Finals MVP even after a dominant performance. When Cedric Maxwell announced his name, a smile went from ear to ear as his teammates mobbed him in a rare display of emotion at half-court. After the game, when asked about what the trophy meant to him, Brown spoke from the heart:

“I wasn’t expecting it at all; I don’t ever win s—.”

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The Celtics and Brown said throughout the ECF and after they completed the series sweep yesterday that their primary goal, and NBA championship, has yet to be accomplished. Each player sacrifices points, shots, and accolades for the team to function at their highest level. However, Brown’s moment of candidness pulled back the curtain on the human aspect of playing basketball. Getting snubbed from the All-NBA team hurt Brown, and then an unnamed source added insult to injury, stating he is “not liked” with an “I-am-better-than attitude.” The California alum quieted the critics even for just a week and received his first MVP trophy.

The Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers in game four on Monday night, 115-112, sweeping their way into the NBA Finals. Brown averaged 29.8 points and five rebounds a game on 51% shooting. Boston receives ten days off before the finals begin at T.D. Garden on June 6.

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