Whether you’re still stewing over the loss in Houston, or anxiously awaiting the rematch with Kawhi, the main thing on the players’ minds is the upcoming All Star weekend. This is one of the most anticipated event on the NBA calendar, and while we all enjoy it most of us want to get on with the regular season. While Celtics Nation enjoys the All Star weekend, cheering on Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum and then grumbling at the fact Jaylen Brown was snubbed this year, they are also expecting a lot from their team upon their return to the court. Three things we’re most likely to see after the break… A Rested Roster, Rotating Big Men and a Resurgence of Romeo Langford.
The Celtics have worked hard for most of the 53 games they’ve played so far. Often times they’ve played without key players and still got the win. It seems as though they are now on the mend, and the All Star break couldn’t have come at a better time. The guys will get a much needed rest. Jaylen especially needs time to get off that ankle and let it heal so he’ll be ready for the remaining season. So really his All-Star snub is a blessing in disguise. Gordon Hayward has been a beast on the floor as of late, and with a week off he’ll be even more ready to get back at it. Basketball is hard on the body, and it’ll be nice to see Marcus not having to take a charge or dive for the ball. Our big men need this break as well. Often times they are the unsung heroes of the game, leaping and fighting for rebounds and muscling through the paint in order to put two more points on the board. As their bodies and minds rest, Boston will be ready to face their 28 remaining opponents with strength, poise and determination.
Rotating Big Men
It’s not a stretch to say Celtics fans are eagerly awaiting the return of Rob Williams III. As mentioned in previous articles, Rob will fill in the holes that we’re all seeing out there. As Brad Stevens said, he’s the “ceiling for the team”, and it’ll be nice to have a little added height on the court. Most likely, Williams’ return will affect the minutes Enes and Grant play. Kanter more than makes up offensively what he gives up defensively, but it’ll be great having a physical guy on the other end blocking shots and defending the rim. This is not a slight against anyone. Kanter is fantastic and the reason we have at least five guys averaging six rebounds a game. Grant Williams has been amazing, showing his basketball IQ by being the right spot at the right times, making winning plays, fighting for rebounds, etc. A healthy Rob brings more depth to the bench and rest for Daniel Theis, which will enable him to be more productive in the post season.
Resurgence of Romeo Langford
It’s been hard for Celtics fans to really connect with Romeo due to his injuries this season. However, there’s no question this young man is back and ready to play. His scoring ability is no surprise to most, but what has really excited the fans is the impact he has made defensively. Much like Marcus, his impact hasn’t shown up in the box score, but translates into winning plays and the ultimately another victory. Naturally, what Boston needs him to be is the spark flying off the bench while guys like Kemba, Gordon, Jayson and Jaylen get some rest. It’s important that he has games like the one against Atlanta where he scored 16 points in 28 minutes, taking charges and moving the ball are just added bonuses to his time out there.
Overall, what all fans want to see is a healthy roster playing Celtics basketball as Boston plays out the remainder of the regular season. If they do that, there’s no question we can see them fighting for the NBA title this year. So for now, enjoy the All-Star Weekend, expect great things afterwards and as always, #bleedgreen.
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