The Boston Celtics will head to Brooklyn Monday for a date with the Nets, but they’ll do so without a few key players. Guards Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart are set to miss the game, creating a big opportunity for a few others to step up and fill the void. With Irving and Smart off the floor, it’s led to Terry Rozier, among others, taking on a big role in the offense.
We’re going to take a look at the Celtics roster and starting lineup for Monday’s game while also breaking down the latest on Irving’s status. There is a positive note on Smart, as Adam Kaufman of WBZ News Radio revealed Smart is dealing with an illness. In turn, it would be surprising if he misses any extended time.
Let’s jump in with the Celtics roster first and head into Irving’s outlook after.
Celtics Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Nets
*Notates expected starter
C: Al Horford*, Robert Williams, Guerschon Yabusele
PF: Marcus Morris*, Daniel Theis, Semi Ojeleye
SF: Jayson Tatum*, Gordon Hayward
SG: Jaylen Brown*
PG: Terry Rozier*, Brad Wanamaker
The Celtics will be thin at guard in this game, as Smart has the ability to play both point and shooting guard. In turn, it could lead to Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown all seeing time as the primary ball-handler.
With Irving, Smart and Aron Baynes (broken hand) not on the court, Marcus Morris, Hayward and Rozier are among the players who see the biggest boosts. According to Basketball Monster, Morris gets a usage increase from 21.2 to 24.5, Hayward’s goes from 19.3 to 22.6 and Rozier’s from 18.3 to 21.0.
Essentially, Rozier and Hayward find themselves shouldering a larger load offensively, specifically as ball-handlers, while Morris’ scoring and rebounding jump a decent amount. Morris sees his points per 36 minutes go from 20.5 with Irving on the floor to 24.4 when he’s off it. Rozier’s increase from 13.7 to 17.2 while Hayward gets a bump of nearly three points – 15.1 to 18.0.
Latest on Kyrie Irving’s Injury
It doesn’t seem that Irving’s injury is anything serious or something that there’s an overwhelming level of concern over. As John Karalis of MassLive revealed, the guard said he has a right quad contusion which occurred when he came down awkwardly on a play against the Orlando Magic. Irving did state that he believes the injury could have been more serious.
“I’m just glad I do enough work on my legs, honestly,” he said. “It could have been bad.”
Beyond that, Irving told Karalis that his expectation is to return when the Celtics face the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday and that he’s simply taking the night off due to a knot in his quad.
“It’s literally a tight-ass knot in my right quad,” he said. “I’m probably going to need some dry-needling to get that spot out, but other than that take this one out and play against the Raptors.”
There doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe Irving will miss the nationally-televised Eastern Conference battle with the Raptors Wednesday. Even still, his status ahead of that game will be worth monitoring.