The Boston Celtics have played well as of late when key players are out of the lineup.
Against the Orlando Magic a week ago, the Celtics cruised to a double-digit win without Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Enes Kanter. On Saturday, Boston knocked off Philadelphia without Kemba Walker in the lineup.
All signs point to Walker missing the Celtics’ matchup against the Atlanta Hawks on the road. And on the latest injury report, the Celtics also have Marcus Smart listed as questionable with a right thigh contusion. That’s coupled with both Enes Kanter and Robert Williams likely missing out again, both with hip injuries.
The Celtics depth will surely be tested should both Smart and Walker be out in Atlanta. It also leaves some interesting possibilities as to how the starting lineup could look.
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Starting Lineup vs Atlanta
If Marcus Smart is available to play, the Celtics lineup will look the same as it did against the Sixers on Saturday.
C – Daniel Theis
PF – Gordon Hayward
SF – Jayson Tatum
SG – Jaylen Brown
PG – Marcus Smart
Without Smart, the Celtics may be limited as to who they could use at the guard position. Brad Wanamaker would be the likely option to replace Smart in the lineup should he be unavailable. Boston would also likely use Carsen Edwards and Romeo Langford in an extended look off the bench.
Atlanta is in last place of the Eastern Conference standings, but they do have All-Star guard Trae Young who has been a force. And already this season, the Hawks have caused problems for the Celtics with their length down low. Boston will have to find the right matchups, even against the 13-win Hawks.
Off the Bench
The Celtics will also be limited in terms of their options off the bench should Smart and Walker both miss Monday’s game. It would likely see Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters both called up from the Maine Red Claws for the contest.
Edwards is fresh off a 41-point performance and it may be an opportunity for the Celtics to show off some of its rookies to lure potential suitors at the trade deadline. Langford is another candidate who has been vying for more minutes but has yet to be rewarded with any.
As for forwards, Grant Williams, Semi Ojeleye, and Javonte Green are all available and it looks like Tacko Fall may still be around as well.
Boston has been using Grant Williams in somewhat of a center role defensively. Both he and Ojeleye took turns guarding Joel Embiid on Saturday, to mixed degrees of success. Offensively, Williams and Ojeleye are each sharpening up as well. Ojeleye poured in 11 points in 24 minutes while the rookie Williams added five points in 19 minutes.
Boston hasn’t been using Vincent Poirier at all off the bench, despite a vast margin and a more favorable height matchup with the Sixers on Saturday. He may see some time, however, against Atlanta.