The Celtics showed that they’re awake, but it’s the young players who stepped up big.
This Past Wednesday the Celtics cruised past the Brooklyn Nets inside the bubble 149-115. After ups and downs to start their 10 game regular-season stretch, the C’s picked up the momentum. Different from the first few games, the Celtics played fast on offense and tough in their half-court defense. And although some of the vets pulled through, the applauds go to the young guys that stepped up.
The biggest stories come from the if not now but future stars of the NBA Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The two played for a combined 40 points but both played well under 25 minutes. As Brad Stephens shared minutes amongst his ball club, the two players scored with efficiency. Brown shot 53.8% from the field and 55% from 3 point range to pull in 21 points. Tatum on the other hand shot 63% from the field, 62% from 3 point land, and dropped 19. Both players in their 20s were able to score anywhere on the court and play good defense.
He’s only a few years in the league but Marcus Smart has been stepping up big in these games. Wednesday night was no different. The 26-year-old pulled in 12 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds on Wednesday. The stat sheet may have not done him justice, but the number of minutes he played did. Racking in 33 minutes is impressive for the fill-in for an injured and tired Kemba Walker who was inactive. Because of that, Smart is the one who stayed on the floor the longest. He wasn’t able to get his offense going, but the guard made a huge difference on defense. With 3 steals contributing to the 17 Nets turnovers.
The bench scored 69 points as they were able to get the entire team involved. Part of the shine goes to Brad Wanamaker and Robert Williams who was able to pull in double-digit scoring. Wanamaker, playing more minutes because of the absence of Walker, stepped up huge. He scored in the paint, around the perimeter, and was able to hold his assignment on defense.
That also goes for the much athletic Robert Williams who played up to his potential. A role that will be much needed due to the frontcourt struggles at hand for Boston. Nonetheless, the 6-foot-8 power forward played efficiently with 18 points without a single missed basket. Perhaps it was just a good night for Williams. But I expect Coach Stephens to give the young guy some more minutes.
Celtics are still figuring things out as far as rotation and chemistry go. If the young guys can maintain this level of efficiency, then expect a fully prepared Celtics. This blowout is against a team without a superstar, but a playoff club nonetheless. One can only imagine their full potential once Walker gets back at full health.
Feature Image Via NBC Sports