From his sore right shoulder to, now, a strained right thumb that was surgically repaired two years ago, Marcus Smart had plenty of cause for missing Monday’s game against Toronto in Tampa.
“He just had a scan on that thumb, and it didn’t look too bad at first glance but we have to be smart about that, because it’s the one that got fixed a couple years ago,” said coach Brad Stevens, who also went into the game without Jeff Teague, who sprained his left ankle in Detroit on Sunday.
Opportunity thus opened for Tremont Waters, last year’s NBA G-League rookie of the year, to start against Toronto’s championship backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. Payton Pritchard, this season’s big Celtics surprise, also figured to play some particularly big minutes.
“I think that this is a time where we’re going to have to figure out, especially with Smart out and how good Lowry and VanVleet are, we’re going to have to figure out how to manage the whole 48 minutes,” Stevens said.
“Not only from the standpoint of guarding those guys but also from the standpoint of generating offense. This is a great defensive team we’re getting ready to play against. Both guys will get shots, whether they start or come off the bench, whatever. It’s more about how much we need what punch at what time of the game.”
Javonte Green, who has been out under the league’s safety protocol program, won’t join the team for Wednesday’s game in Miami.
“Javonte is out the entire trip. We’re hopeful to have him back when the trip concludes,” said Stevens. “But I think even in the new scenario where we are already on the road I don’t think he could meet us, based on how everything is. So, but I think he’ll be ready to go when we get back.”
Jayson Tatum now has two game-winners this season, and is shooting that kind of shot with as much frequency as anyone in the league.
According to Pro Basketball Reference, Tatum is 3-for-6 when attempting a game-winning shot in the last five seconds of a game. Chicago’s Zach LaVine is 3-for-7, and five others players have made two such shots. … Another PBR nugget: “Steph Curry’s 62-point performance against Portland on Sunday was the third highest total by a player without getting called for a foul in league history. Of the top six performances on the list, five belong to one guy — Wilt Chamberlain.”
Fans in Fla.
The Raptors, as a temporary Florida team, are allowed to have fans at games, and as such a limited number attended the Celtics game.
“This will be the first time we’ve played in front of fans. There were some family members that were allowed in the upper levels in Indiana and Detroit. We don’t even have that in Boston,” said Stevens. “So this is the first time we’ll even have fans in the crowd, which is a little bit unique, right? It won’t be like playing up there, those are some of the best fans in the league and some of the rowdiest fans in the league but, likewise, we don’t get the benefit of playing in front of ours. I think that probably all evens out. It is pretty interesting that the first time we’re going to play in front of fans is down here in Florida in Tampa.”