The Boston Celtics welcome the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers to town on Wednesday night but will do so without a few key members of their starting lineup. Although the Celtics certainly want to be at full strength in every game, they’ve been playing especially well as of late. In turn, the absences of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford may not hurt all that much in this matchup.
Boston sits with a 29-18 record after winning four straight and seven of their last 10 games. They’re also just 1.5 games back of the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and six games back of the first-place Milwaukee Bucks. As far as the Celtics injury report goes, the team opted to give Horford a day of rest, but Irving was a late addition.
Let’s take a look at the current roster and starting lineup for the Celtics against the Cavaliers while also breaking down the status of Irving.
Celtics Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Cavaliers
|Center||Aron Baynes||Daniel Theis||Guerschon Yabusele|
|Power Forward||Marcus Morris||Semi Ojeleye|
|Small Forward||Jayson Tatum||Gordon Hayward|
|Shooting Guard||Marcus Smart||Jaylen Brown|
|Point Guard||Terry Rozier||Brad Wanamaker|
With both Irving and Horford set to sit this game out, it means the likes of Rozier, Marcus Morris and the rest of the starting lineup will take on a much heavier workload. Morris specifically sees a big bump with the duo off the floor, as his usage goes from 20.9 to 26.1 and points per 36 minutes jump from 19.6 to 24.6, per Basketball Monster.
Among the other names who have stepped up to fill the void in their absences are Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum. All three players see their points per 36 increase while both Brown and Hayward’s rebounding numbers jump. All three players take on a larger scoring role and should be busy in this game.
Rozier is unquestionably a name to monitor as he becomes the primary ballhandler which has led to an increase in scoring and assists. He’ll likely see the biggest minutes increase of any player on the roster in this game.
Latest on Kyrie Irving’s Status
The good news is that Irving missing a date with his former team doesn’t seem to be due to anything that will hold him out longterm. As The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach reported, Irving is sitting out due to flu-like symptoms.
Boston’s star point guard has been a huge part of their recent hot run, scoring 26 or more points in all four wins while dishing out double-digit assists in three of them. The stretch began with Irving scoring 27 points with 18 assists against the Toronto Raptors and then 38 points with 11 assists against the Memphis Grizzlies.
On the season, Irving has posted averages of 23.5 points and a career-best 6.9 assists per game. He’s also having the best year of his career from a shooting perspective, as he’s knocked down 50.1 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from beyond the arc.