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The Golden State Warriors lost by 52 points to the Boston Celtics on Sunday. Nothing they did worked. Let's be clear about that from the start. They did not lose this game because of their much-discussed and blatant defensive strategy to give Jaylen Brown a Russell Westbrook amount of space to fire as many wide-open 3-pointers as his 34.8% heart desired. 

That said, Brown did call the strategy "disrespectful" and he did make the Warriors pay by hitting five of his 10 shots from beyond the arc. On his way to 29 points for the day, Brown rattled off 19 points – including three 3-pointers over a 41-second span – through the game's first seven minutes. 

Look how far Draymond Green was sagged off Brown:

"For the most part, my job is to take it to the paint," Brown said. "We got enough 3-point shooters on the team. So I don't take a lot of 3s for the most part throughout the season because we got enough of that. I get to the paint and I usually open it up for everyone else. But if you want to dare me to shoot, we can do that, too. I thought it was a little disrespectful. But we took advantage of it and we hit them back."

It's understandable why Brown would feel disrespected by this particular defensive deployment. He said "it's never personal," but don't let him fool you. Competitors take everything personal. It was no accident that Brown started yapping at Green and riling up the crowd after his 3-point flurry. 

After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr explained the decision to leave Brown unoccupied beyond the arc, which Green told reporters was implemented about 15 minutes before the game, by saying, "You have to try different things" and "pick your matchups." When the clip of Kerr talking surfaced on X, Brown responded with a tweet reading: "More teams should take this strategy."

So yes. He took it personally. 

But here's the thing: Brown might want to get used to this kid of treatment, because it wasn't as dumb as the results in this particular game wound up making it look, and it's certainly within reason that he and the Celtics could face something similar in the playoffs. 

Just look at the numbers. Brown, as mentioned above, came into Sunday's game making less than 35% of his 3-pointers for the season. That's not a terrible number on its own. But everything is relative, and relative to Boston's other shooters, Brown was, and will remain moving forward, the best bet to miss. 

Jrue Holiday is shooting 45% from 3 this season. Derrick White and Al Horford are shooting 40%. Jayson Tatum, as Boston's best player, is at 37% and obviously requires as much defensive attention as possible. Kristaps Porzingis, who didn't even play on Sunday, is 38%. 

Brown, meanwhile, is making just 30% of his wide-open 3-pointers for the season, per NBA.com tracking, which defines "wide open" as the nearest defender being at least six feet away. 

As Kerr said, you have to pick your matchups, and the Celtics are so loaded with shooting threats that even the least-threatening shooter, Brown, is still a capable marksman, as he proved. That's what makes Boston so difficult to guard. There are no good defensive bets to make. Only degrees of bad ones. 

"A team that has that many threats, you try to find some weak spot to see if it'll throw them off a little bit," Stephen Curry said, via The Athletic. "Obviously, it didn't work."

This is a lot like when the Bucks decided to switch hunt Brown on defense in the 2022 playoffs. It wasn't that Brown was, or is, a particularly bad defender. He just wasn't, and still isn't, as good as the stable of dominant defenders Boston has situated around him. So you pick the poison least likely to kill you. 

So yes, Curry is right. The strategy to leave Brown free to shoot as the lesser of Boston's many shooting evils didn't work. This time. That's an important distinction. Percentages play out over time, and Brown, who shot just 30% from deep in February, could certainly start firing blanks at the wrong time if he sees similar coverages in the playoffs, which I wouldn't rule out based on sheer regressions percentages. 

Will teams completely abandon him? I doubt it. But some sagging should be expected. Daring Brown to shoot over and over is about the best chance you have to lull the Celtics into spells of offensive lethargy. Brown can feel disrespected all he wants, but this wasn't, and isn't, a dumb defensive strategy against Boston. It might be desperate, but it's not dumb. Brown should be prepared to see it again, and if that happens, he better be up to the challenge of punishing it the same way he did Sunday.