Cal Basketball: Jaylen Brown Moves Up Ranks of Ex-Bears in NBA Playoffs
Jaylen Brown enters Wednesday night’s Game 4 in the Eastern Conference finals having already piled up eight career postgame games of 25 points or more. And he’s just 23.
Brown had 26 points on Saturday, leading the Celtics to a critical 117-106 win over the Miami Heat for Boston’s first victory in the series.
A one-and-done player at Cal in 2015-16, Brown already has the fourth-most 25-point playoff outings among former Cal players.
Here are the top four (with career playoff games in parenthesis):
1. Kevin Johnson: 28 games of at least 25 points (105)
2. Phil Chenier 15 (60)
3. Jason Kidd - 10 (158)
4. Jaylen Brown - 8 (60)
Brown’s 25-point games all have come over a span of three seasons beginning in 2018. Here’s the list:
34 points - 2018 vs. Milwaukee
31 points - 2020 vs. Toronto
30 points - 2018 vs. Milwaukee
29 points - 2020 vs. Philadelphia
27 points - 2020 vs. Toronto
27 points - 2018 vs. Cleveland
26 points - 2020 vs. Miami
25 points - 2018 vs. Cleveland
Kevin Johnson’s 28 games of 25 points or more include a 46-point outburst in 1995 that is the highest-scoring postseason game ever by a former Cal player.
It was Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals against Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets, and KJ was at his best. Besides the 46 points, he had 10 assists in the game and shot 21 for 22 at the free throw line . . . but it wasn’t enough.
The Rockets won 115-114 as Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler each scored 29 points. Houston went on to win its second straight NBA title during Michael Jordan’s detour to minor-league baseball.
Johnson scored 43 points in Game 4 as the Suns took a 3-1 series lead. He averaged 27.9 points, 9.4 assists and shot nearly 58 percent from the field in the series, but Phoenix never won again after Game 4.
The same teams met a year earlier, also in the Western Conference semifinals, with the same outcome. The 1994 series is most memorable for Game 4, when KJ — at 6-foot-1 — drove the baseline and threw down a tomahawk dunk over the 7-footer Olajuwon, the NBA's two-time Defensive Player of the Year. Johnson finished with 38 points (for the second straight game) and 12 assists, but Houston won 107-96.
Johnson averaged 26.6 points and 9.7 assists in the series, but the Suns lost in seven games, just as they did a year later.
Chenier, Cal’s first great NBA player, had six postseason games of at least 30 points, topped by a 39-point effort for the Washington Bullets against the Buffalo Braves and NBA scoring king Bob McAdoo in 1975.
The Bullets, of course, advanced to the NBA finals in ’75, where they were swept by the Warriors. It wasn’t the fault of Chenier, who averaged 24.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.5 steals over four games.
*** SI's Michael Rosenberg gives an insider's view of life in the NBA bubble:
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo
Click the "follow" button in the top right corner to join the conversation on Cal Sports Report on SI. Access and comment on featured stories and start your own conversations and post external links on our community page.