Celtics return from COVID break with 124-97 earn about Orlando

The problems seemed high-class. The Celtics, after three straight postponements, experienced 12 healthful gamers.

Marcus Smart holding a football ball: Boston's Marcus Smart, left, congratulates Jaylen Brown as the Celtics take on the Magic at TD Garden on Jan. 15, 2021 in Boston, MA.  (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

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Boston’s Marcus Good, still left, congratulates Jaylen Brown as the Celtics just take on the Magic at TD Yard on Jan. 15, 2021 in Boston, MA. (Workers Photograph By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Team/Boston Herald)

Orlando, nevertheless lacking some of its best gamers to personal injury, promised a gentle landing for a staff that experienced only practiced the moment as a group in 7 days.

No issue. The Celtics picked up in which they commenced the interruption with a 124-97 acquire above Orlando. The victory was their fifth straight, preserving their hold on the greatest document (8-3) in the Eastern Meeting.

Minus Jayson Tatum, this could possibly have established up as a further breakout scoring night time for Jaylen Brown. Rather, the Celtics guard shared the wealth, pairing his 21-place efficiency by tying his vocation-higher of eight helps in just 25 minutes of function.

The Celtics, just after leading by as numerous as 29 details, sat the starters at the get started of the fourth quarter and went deep into that bench to complete this one off.

Maybe the most pleasurable surprise for Brad Stevens was the deficiency of pressure Friday night’s return set on his team, which include 6 gamers (Brown, Tristan Thompson, Daniel Theis, Grant Williams, Semi Ojeleye, Javonte Green) who experienced just been isolated in well being and safety protocols.

Marcus Intelligent played a group-higher 28 minutes, with nine other Celtics taking part in 18 or far more minutes.

“I believed one particular way would be that our to start with wind would hit us very tough,” said the Celtics mentor. “But also I believed there was freshness — you have not done just about anything, you have acquired off your ft and now you get again at it. We ended up ready to do it without everyone actively playing more than 28 minutes, which was good.”

As such, Stevens went with a platoon technique even additional than common, and discovered that the layoff hadn’t affected his youthful players at all.

Ojeleye resumed his enhanced attack on the basket, this time scoring 18 points on 6-for-10 shooting, together with 3-for-6 from his downtown corner sweet place.

Payton Pritchard’s rise as just one of the most astonishing rookies in the league continued as very well, this time with a 16-point, four-trey general performance that incorporated some specifically properly-timed buckets when the offense started to stall.

But the blemishes had been small, albeit towards a watered down Orlando roster.

“Obviously this COVID, and the pandemic has definitely afflicted not just us but every thing in this league, and everybody’s doing the finest they can to cope with it and get by way of it and control it,” explained Intelligent. “So to have most people that was basically in this article and offered to engage in nowadays was large for us.

“We missed every other, we missed becoming on that court docket, and it was a distinctive night exactly where everybody that usually does not get to play or doesn’t definitely get as substantially time was ready to go out there and showcase their talent and showcase everything that they’ve been performing on,” he explained. “So it felt good to arrive out and the way that we performed, with the pace and every thing, that was the key for us.

“That’s all we talked about coming in. We realized we ended up heading to be quick some guys, and the men that we had, we just desired them to go out and perform as rapid as we can. We were undersized. We knew we ended up speedy, and we realized we had a good deal of pace and athleticism. So we just desired to go out there and engage in as quick as we could. Push the ball up the courtroom and just check out to defeat teams up the court docket, and we did that tonight.”

COVID classes: Wise, as the 1st Celtic to take a look at beneficial for the virus final spring, can communicate greater than most to the seriousness of what the NBA is now dealing with.

“It’s certainly really serious. I really do not consider we were being at any time at a level where by it was not serious,” he claimed. “Even though it is probably additional regarded about, we in all probability know extra about it now than we did just will make it even more major.

“Those guys (uncovered to) with Rob (Williams) and Jayson, we were being certainly expecting a false favourable and the subsequent working day to come back destructive and things like that,” he reported of the two players’ favourable take a look at benefits. “But it did not (appear again unfavorable), so it is a little something that takes place, it’s part of daily life. Things take place that you never approach on and you have to be ready to change.

“For me individually, I did not have any indications. I was asymptomatic. So, for me physically, it did not seriously choose far too a lot of a toll mentally as a lot, either. For me, it was more just truly not knowing what to anticipate, I guess in that part psychologically. That can definitely have an effect on the person. We see situations that are way even worse than mine, the place people are definitely, truly experiencing symptoms and acquiring a difficult time. So I can only picture what they’re going by way of and what they’re sensation psychologically, mentally, physically, everything. And it is exceptional to just about every human being since each individual particular person handles things otherwise. For me, like I said, I was asymptomatic. So, for me, it wasn’t as tough. But our prayers go out to everybody who’s dealing with it. Each and every loved ones customers, relatives, pals, enemies, all people which is going by way of it, we’re praying for them and just hoping that they can get previous this and cope with it as greatest as they can.”

Matchups: With Thompson and Grant Williams the two coming out of quarantine, Stevens opted to start out Thompson with Grant Williams and bring Theis off the bench. But the Thompson/Williams mixture — not exactly the double-huge appear that Stevens has been favoring this year — may possibly have more operate down the road.

“We’re just hoping to match up with Orlando and enjoy it video game by activity,” stated Stevens. “With Rob (Williams) gone, and Tristan and Theis both equally long gone, and the inactivity of the week, we couldn’t get started both of those of them. It manufactured sense to convey a person person off the bench, and that will continue till each of those fellas (are again up to pace). They are the two actually fantastic players who can support us in a ton of ways. Occasionally they may well get started, from time to time they may possibly appear off. It will in all probability be incredibly comparable to the place they were being.”

Tacko has array: With Intelligent leading the celebration, the Celtics bench erupted when Tacko Slide strike an 18-footer late in the fourth quarter — even though from its angle throughout the floor from the bench, the shot momentarily appeared to have 3-place depth. He also caught 3 Magic players flat-footed with a travel down the lane for a dunk.

“I imagine they have been much more psyched about the ball handling at the best of the key and then the push. But which is a very good matter,” reported Stevens. “And getting again in the health club and becoming with each other and smiling is a good point.”

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