Accidents to key gamers are piling up at an alarming charge for Boston. The harm bug is complicating efforts from the Celtics to make up floor towards Toronto within the race for the Jap Convention’s prime seed.
Boston heads west to Utah to face the Jazz with a shortened roster on Wednesday. For the reason that begin of March, the Celtics have misplaced Kyrie Irving, Marcus Good and Daniel Theis to severe accidents. Theis is completed for the yr whereas Irving and Good will not be again within the lineup till the postseason.
Marcus Morris is also sidelined towards Utah after spraining his ankle in Monday’s 102-94 win over Phoenix. It’s a blow to the group’s offense after Morris posted three straight 20-point video games throughout Boston’s present four-game profitable streak. However the setback is a short-term one.
“I could possibly be out a pair days, however nothing long run,” Morris advised the Boston Globe on Monday. “So, I am good.”
That is what’s making Jayson Tatum’s latest play much more invaluable. The rookie ahead has emerged as a constant offensive risk in absence of so many rotation regulars. Tatum is averaging 16.2 factors on 50 p.c taking pictures and 6.1 rebounds in March.
Tatum has had three 20-point outings within the final 5 video games. He has shot 55 p.c or higher from the ground 4 occasions in that stretch.
“He is taking part in with quite a lot of confidence,” teammate Al Horford advised Celtics.com, “however simply making the sport easy.”
The Jazz are getting assured manufacturing out of their very own assured rookie, Donovan Mitchell. Utah is positioning itself for a robust end partly as a result of Mitchell continues to evolve into the kind of go-to scorer the group thought it misplaced when Gordon Hayward departed through free company to Boston.
Mitchell is averaging 23.2 factors, four.5 rebounds and four.2 assists in March. His skill to generate offense, particularly late in video games, has helped Utah put up 11 wins over its final 13 contests.
One space of concern for the Jazz is gradual begins. The Jazz averaged simply 19.5 factors within the first quarter in every of their final two video games. It led to them digging out of holes towards each Golden State and San Antonio. Utah succeeded in pulling away from the Warriors after halftime in a 110-91 win on Sunday. However a gradual begin finally price them in a 124-120 additional time loss to the Spurs on Friday.
“We all know what each recreation means at this level,” guard Joe Ingles mentioned after Monday’s apply. “It is no secret. We simply obtained to come back out with the fitting mindset. … Everybody who steps on the court docket must be able to go.”
Boston is making its first journey to Utah since Hayward joined the Celtics after spending seven seasons with the Jazz. Though Hayward nonetheless stays sidelined after dislocating his ankle and fracturing his tibia within the season opener, his presence nonetheless looms giant for followers of the group he spurned.
Utah, nevertheless, is just targeted on getting one other win over Boston to maintain tempo in a deep and spirited race for the ultimate playoff spots within the Western Convention.
“It is an necessary recreation, however for the playoff image with what this group desires to perform,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder mentioned.
Utah is aiming to finish a season sweep over Boston. The Jazz beat the Celtics 107-95 on December 15th. Ricky Rubio led the way in which for Utah with 22 factors on 10-of-15 taking pictures, seven rebounds and 5 assists. The Jazz shot 52 p.c from Three-point vary within the win to offset a 33-point outing from Irving.