Boston’s Jaylen Brown dunks over Charlotte’s forward Miles Bridges during the overtime session in the Celtics’ 140-129 win on Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

CHARLOTTE — On the heels of a one-game absence for left knee tendinitis, the last thing Jaylen Brown wanted in his return was to have to play an extra five minutes beyond regulation.

“These overtime games are killing me,’ Brown cracked after the game.

However, the All-Star forward saved some of his finest work for his extra period, scoring five of his 30 points in the period, including a loud dunk of Hornets forward Miles Bridges that helped to jump-start Boston’s game closing 14-0 run in the 140-129 win.

“I had to make up for the missed dunk in New York,” Brown said of the throwdown. “So my teammates was teasing me a little bit. It was just a good play. Miles, obviously, is one of the better athletes in the league, so I knew that if I tried to lay it up, he was going to send it back to Boston. So I knew if was going up, I was going up with bad intentions.”

In a promising sign for the Celtics, Brown seemed to gain more strength as the game wore on in his return from a left patella tendinopathy. He scored 24 of his 30 points in the second half, going 9 of 11 from the field during that stretch to help Boston erase a fourth quarter double-digit deficit to force overtime. Celtics Coach Ime Udoka had planned to keep his minutes closer to 30 at the most but elected to roll with Brown through the extra opportunity with his production thriving.

“I didn’t realize he had like 26, 27 points, so he was just going through the game plan well,” Udoka said of the extra playing time. “If you look at the minutes they were actually right around the time we wanted without the extra five added. He would’ve been at 32 which is not bad, and Jayson at 36, as far as that. At least we got the win tonight.

“That’s the thing that’s positive about it, instead of tacking on an extra five, 10 minutes and taking a loss like we did in New York. He said he felt great.”

Brown was limited by tenderness in the same left knee through parts of last season but didn’t seem worried by the flareup after the victory.

“I think last year was more chronic,” Brown said of the injury. “I think this year is just a spike just because of the amount of minutes coming out the gate from the double-overtime game, being in quarantine, et cetera, only having one day to come back. I think this one was just more of an isolated incident.

“It kind of dragged out all season. I’m hoping that’s not going to be the case here. So I think they’re just being cautious of that because they don’t want it to bother me all season long. I don’t think it will.”

With just two games over the next six days, Brown should have the opportunity to gave it some extra rest.

PLAYING DOWN the road from his former college home at Duke, Tatum found himself hearing MVP chants from the Charlotte crowd at the free-throw line in the closing moments of Boston’s comeback victory.

His production on Monday night made him worthy of that praise however, posting team-highs with 41 points and 8 assists despite seeing two or three Hornets defenders all night long in his air space. His balance between scoring and setting up others earned him praise from his head coach after the win.

“He understands the crowd and the attention he draws every night,” Udoka said. “Different teams have different game plans, but if he gets it rolling scoring-wise, you know they are going to come after him. It’s something he has embraced from Day 1. Eight assists tonight is huge. But not only his scoring, he’s getting everyone else involved.

“As with every team, their best players usually have to be their best playmakers. So we’ve asked him to do that this year, get guys involved, and he’s taken on the challenge from Day 1 – whether it’s from the post, isolation, he’s willing to give up the ball and trust his teammates, and that makes it easier on him for the rest of the game.”


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