The 2nd half of the season will begin after a much-needed all-star break. And while the two stars on the Celtics (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown) are participating, players will get rest. Once the regular season games start back up, it’s go time for the Celtics.
2nd Half Of The Season Will Have More Healthy Veterans
Although the team hasn’t gotten into specifics about a return, Boston fans can expect Marcus Smart to return soon. It was expected after suffering a calf strain that he would be back after the all-star break. While Smart is gone, the Celtics have noticeably struggled. Smart brings the grittiness on defense yet another player on the offensive end who can score when need be. Make doubt about it, Smart was the energizer last year during the postseason that led them to a conference finals appearance.
In addition to Smart, another important veteran will be getting some much-needed time off. Kemba Walker for the first time in a while will not be participating in any all-star activities. Instead, the nine-year veteran will be resting and getting back to full health as he missed a good portion of the season already. Due to knee and other nagging injuries to his legs, Walker wasn’t his usual self when he returned. His poor games against the Knicks and Lakers concerned a lot of fans. However, as of late, he’s been getting back into rhythm and has been moving sharp. This all-star break is good for Walker to make an impact in the league this 2nd half of the season.
Only A Few Games Behind
Although going into the season many didn’t expect the Celtics to get off to this start, they’re still in a decent position. Boston sits at the 4th seed in a tie with the New York Knicks. Sitting 5 games back from the top seed, it’s attainable. With 36 games left in the season, Coach Stevens will have to get his guys to pull together their chemistry. Before the break, the Celtics were on a 4 game winning streak. Walker was getting into a groove and they began to find their pocket. If that consistency can remain for the 2nd half of the season then the rest of the league should be on alert.
Payton Pritchard Time To Step Up
The rookie Payton Pritchard has already received praise from his teammates and fans for his play. Filling in for Smart, he’s been able to shoot around 45% from the field and 40% from deep. And while it’s been good for him to adjust to the league, the stakes are higher. This 2nd half of the season will make every game crucial to winning. But Brad Stevens and the rest of his teammates have faith in the former Oregon Duck. So now it’s time for the young guy to show what he can do on the perimeter and overall play.