Star forward Jayson Tatum, who missed the last three games of Boston’s recent road trip with a groin injury, will return to action against the Warriors, albeit on a minutes restriction.
Tatum has consistently been one of Boston’s leading scorers this season, averaging 21.5 points per game to go along with 6.9 rebounds per game. The third-year man out of Duke is also up for his first All-Star nod as reserves will be announced Thursday night as well.
Along with Tatum, reserve forward Javonte Green was taken off the injury report after a slight groin injury suffered against New Orleans last Sunday. However, Boston will still be without center Enes Kanter who remains sidelined with a hip injury, though he has been working out and could be back as soon as this weekend.
Here’s how Boston’s starting lineup could look come tip-off on Thursday night.
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Starting Lineup vs Golden State
Tatum’s return will help reset the Celtics’ rotation. Though with Kanter sidelined, Boston will be forced to go small at times given two backup centers are out.
Boston only went eight deep in their Tuesday night victory down in Miami, and could pull a similar move on Thursday against the Warriors. Here’s how the starting lineup may look.
C – Daniel Theis
PF – Gordon Hayward
SF – Jayson Tatum
SG – Jaylen Brown
PG – Kemba Walker
Marcus Smart goes back to the bench though he’ll likely see a good amount of action given Tatum’s minutes restriction. As for other options off the bench, Semi Ojeleye and Grant Williams both saw over 20 minutes on Tuesday and could be poised for big roles once again.
Williams has been playing well off the bench lately as the 2019 first-round draft pick has been strong on the boards for a Celtics team that can be inconsistent when it comes to rebounding. As for Ojeleye, his defensive ability and court awareness can make him an effective option as well even when his shots aren’t always falling.
Another pleasant surprise this year has been Brad Wanamaker. In his second season with the Celtics, Wanamaker is carving out a role for himself off the bench. He has shown the ability to shoot the ball well from all over the floor as well as man the point.
Also off the bench could be Green now that he is back healthy. A feel-good story out of preseason for the Celtics, Green has turned into a key member of Boston’s bench for his electrifying offense and interior defensive play.
Finally, the Celtics could look to use Vincent Poirier, albeit in a minor role on Thursday night. The French center, playing in his first season at the NBA level, hasn’t seen a ton of action given Boston’s sudden depth at the center position along with a thumb injury that sidelined him for a month. But when called upon, Poirier is as physical and athletic as any other Celtics’ big man.