Jaylen Brown has been fantastic since making his return from a hamstring injury on December 13, and his good play just might help turn the Celtics season around. 

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It’s been a bumpy ride for the Celtics all season long, but Wednesday’s win over the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers brings the C’s back to 16-16 on the season ahead of a Christmas Day game against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. Boston remains just half a game out of the sixth seed, and just three games back of the Cavaliers for a top-four spot in the East. 

The most welcome of sights for the Celtics, though, is the return to form for Brown. Against Cleveland he showed his full arsenal, splashing threes, getting to the rim with ease and breaking down his defenders. He finished with 34 points on 22 shots, including 5-for-10 from long range as well. 

“Today was probably one of the better days I’ve had since being back,” Brown said. “We’ll just keep adding those up.”

Brown had been battling a hamstring injury since Nov. 4, when he strained the muscle against the Miami Heat.  He missed Boston’s next eight games before returning on Nov. 22 against the Houston Rockets, but the team shut him down again after the team’s win against Philadelphia on November 27.

In the five games that he’s played since he’s come back, Brown is averaging 25.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4 assists per game, showing improvement every game as well. 

Boston is 3-2 in the games Brown has played since he’s been back, and despite their consistent inconsistency this season, Brown believes that the season can be salvaged. 

“I think that we still can be a good team. I think that we’ve shown it in spurts,” he said. “I’ve been out for an extended point in time. I’m trying to get back. We got guys out, COVID. It’s not an excuse or anything, other teams do as well, but, if the question is, you ask, ‘do I still believe?’ 100 percent, regardless of if anybody else does or not.”