BREAKING: Jaylen Brown raves about Celtics trade addition after home debut

Jaylen Brown

BOSTON —Xavier Tillman was not a splashy addition for the Celtics at the trade deadline compared to many moves around the league. However, the impact of the fourth-year big man was on display for Boston in the Celtics’ 138-110 blowout win over the Mavericks on Friday night.

Tillman had only played garbage time minutes in his first three weeks with his new team leading up to Friday night. With the Celtics having a fully healthy roster and strong play from Luke Kornet off the bench in the center role, there hadn’t been a need for Tillman yet for Joe Mazzulla.

With a dynamic offensive opponent in town in Dallas, Mazzulla opted for a more mobile look with his frontcourt, giving Tillman the nod over Kornet for the first time all year. The move paid dividends at Tillman shined in his 15 minutes, going 3-of-3 from the field to score six points and dish out a pair of assists. The stellar showing earned him rave reviews from one of his new teammates.

“X looked good out there, man,” Jaylen Brown said. “It’s like, he fit right in. He came right in and made contributions on defense, got a few rebounds, got some stops. Offense, you could tell he got a good feel for the game. A good screen setter. He got big hands so I was able to find him a few times on the baseline and hit him in some of those seam passes and just reading the defense and how they were guarding. X looked real good tonight.”

The Celtics gave up a pair of second round picks and Lamar Stevens for Tillman at the trade deadline last month. The addition was largely assumed to be for depth purposes but a performance like Friday’s against elite completion shows that Tillman may be capable of more.

“It’s been good,” Tilllman said of joining the Celtics. “Me getting a chance to sit back and learn from guy’s like Al, guys like Payton, guys like Oshae, just helping me get acclimated as far as how we like to operate, what the culture’s like, when we’re bringing the energy, when everybody’s kind of laid back. And then the coaching staff, (assistant) DJ McLeay has been really helpful for me just helping me with the plays, helping me with the defensive schemes and all that good stuff.”

With the Celtics likely to be resting their key bigs Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis plenty in the final two months of the season to keep them healthy and fresh for the playoffs, Tillman looks like a guy who could carve out a role for himself.

“He’s a guy that can help our switchability and still have size,” Mazzulla said. “So that’s one of the things that I’m grateful for with this team, is they keep an open mind and they have an understanding that we do what’s best for the team and what impacts winning, and so we felt like that was the right thing to go to tonight to continue to switch them, and it’s a credit to him and a credit to the rest of the guys for understanding that’s what’s most important.”

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