All night, Brown wiggled loose on little back cuts and didn’t hesitate when he got the ball on the perimeter. He’s energetic and fearless. Nobody can really stop James, but Brown seemed to relish the challenge of facing him, repeatedly going right at his chest. Brown scored eight in the third quarter and drew the charge on LeBron that spurred the Celtics’ 21-6 run.

This is who the Celtics need Brown to be all season. Hayward was probably their most versatile defender—besides, yes, Marcus Smart—but now Brown has to take on a larger role on that end of the floor, although getting Marcus Morris back will help. Brown’s a different kind of player than Hayward, one who takes far fewer shots and dribbles less, though his athleticism and apparent hunger bode well. Setting career-highs in shots attempted, three pointers attempted, points scored, and minutes played in the very first game of the season is a good indicator of how much he’ll have to do this year. Boston will need Brown’s confidence if they’re going to compete for a high playoff spot without Hayward.