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Brown after guarding Doncic: ‘I'm one of the better defenders' in NBA

Brown after guarding Doncic: ‘I'm one of the better defenders' in NBA originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Fresh off of a 119-110 win over the Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown made a statement to NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin that will have future opponents circling their calendars.

"I feel like I'm one of the better defenders in the league, if not the better defender in the league, so I feel like it's a challenge that should be bestowed on me," Brown said of guarding Mavs star Luka Doncic in Monday night's win.

While Doncic still scored 33 points, matching his season average, the 6-foot-7 Slovenian did it at a much less efficient rate. Doncic has been making 48.5 percent of his shots from the field and 37.6 percent from deep but Brown held the versatile playmaker to 40 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

"Whatever night, my body is in a different shape, I'm guarding the best players night to night," Brown added of his defensive presence.

Averaging just over a steal per game, Brown has held players to 41.4 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from deep when listed as the primary defender. The two-time All-Star has made a habit of forcing the opposing team into taking bad shots, which was on full display in their Jan. 7 matchup against the Indiana Pacers, where Brown as the primary defender held the team to just two points on 1-of-9 shooting.

Across the league, Brown ranks second among qualified NBA defenders in opponent field goal percentage below expected output, only behind Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid.

Thanks to Brown's efforts on defense, the Celtics are tied for third in defensive rating, holding teams to an average of 110.6 points per game. Boston has also played defense with extreme discipline, allowing an NBA-low 14.5 free throws per game.

During the offseason -- after signing highest-paying contract in NBA history -- Brown challenged himself to become a better defender. He's seemingly grabbed that challenge by the horns, making his defense a priority each and every night.

"To challenge myself more throughout the year is important because in the playoffs I take on certain roles and responsibilities, no problem," Brown said before the season. "But even challenging yourself throughout the year to push yourself in that regard, because that's the side of the ball that we don't appreciate as much as a part of the game, that we don't appreciate as much. We emphasize and glorify the offensive side, but the defense can really affect winning. So really taking that serious and really locking in, really pushing the teammates around you, trying to be the best you can be."

After winning both nights of their back-to-back, the Celtics will look to finish off their road trip with a victory over the Miami Heat on Thursday night before returning home to take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.