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Jaylen Brown comes off bench for Celtics in Game 2

BOSTON -- Celtics second-year swingman Jaylen Brown fought to play in Thursday's Game 2 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series against the 76ers and aided Boston in rallying from a 22-point deficit for a 108-103 triumph at TD Garden.

Brown, who sat out Game 1 after suffering a right hamstring strain in Game 7 of Boston's first-round series against the Bucks, was listed as doubtful for Thursday's game but convinced Boston's coaches and trainers that he was healthy enough to go.

Brown scored 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting over 24 minutes, 41 seconds of floor time. He added four rebounds and was plus-9 in plus/minus.

"I just told them I was ready to play," Brown said. "They just looked me in the eye and they were back and forth and unsure, and I was like, 'Hey, I'm playing, that's it.' "

Brown said it was hard enough to sit out both the second half of Saturday's Game 7 and all of Monday's Game 1. Even with an extra off day between games, Brown did not practice Wednesday and was moved to a bench role due to his lack of off-day participation.

But he wasted little time making an impact, racing after a loose ball and converting a dunk in transition just 36 seconds after checking into Thursday's game.

"Adrenaline," Brown said. "When adrenaline takes over, you don't really feel anything. As I got going, I felt better.

"I wanted to play last game, but you don't want to risk something where you'll be out for the whole series. You want to be smart about it. Be focused, mentally locked in, then you can shorten that process a little bit."

Brown gave Boston some extra size on the perimeter and an extra body to throw at the likes of Ben Simmons as the Celtics rallied from as much as a 22-point deficit to go up 2-0 in the series.

"Jaylen's one of our main guys, and the fact that he was able to come in and have some pretty big energy plays really just helped us tremendously," Al Horford said. "More than anything, I was encouraged to see that he was able to play, and that he feels good. He was definitely missed."

Added Marcus Smart: "I was excited to see him out there. ... He let everybody know he was gonna play. That's Jaylen for you."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he was told to keep Brown to 25 minutes and used just about all of that window.

"Again, the MRI, or whatever scan he had, showed that there was no, like, tear. There was no structural damage. It was a strain," Stevens said. "It was probably below a grade 1 [strain], but we were going to be very cautious in bringing him back. So they felt good about him playing but felt like if he went about 25, that would've been a little bit more risky.

"So I think he felt pretty good. We'll see how he feels tomorrow, and we'll go from there. But I thought he played really hard. I thought that this series kind of hit him when he first got in the game because he was -- you're kind of coming back from an injury and you're kind of feeling yourself out and, oh by the way, everything's flying around you. But then he made some huge plays for us, obviously."

If Brown responds well to game action, it would seem likely that he could elevate back to a starting role for Saturday's Game 3 in Philadelphia.

He joked that he probably made "everybody nervous as hell" with his dunk early in his first stint and admitted there's a high risk of reinjury but believes he'll be fine moving forward.

"[The hamstring is] a little sore," Brown said. "I'll get some treatment tomorrow, ice it down a little bit, but I'll be ready for Game 3."