Ime Udoka Reveals Celtics’ Critical Injury Updates Ahead of Game 4

Smart Celtics

Getty Images Jaylen Brown of the Celtics reacts after a play in the third quarter against the Heat in Game 3 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals

With hopes of evening up the Eastern Conference Finals’ best-of-7 series 2-2 in Monday night’s Game 4 matchup, the Boston Celtics could be without two key members of their starting lineup.

Addressing media members the day after Game 3, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka provided an update on Marcus Smart’s status.

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Ime Udoka Says Marcus Smart ‘Took a Pretty Bad Sprain’

Before returning to the game, the starting point guard rolled his ankle in Saturday’s 109-103 loss to the Miami Heat.

“Marcus (Smart) has some swelling in his ankle, took a pretty bad sprain,” Udoka said after practice on Sunday. “Obviously, he finished the game, but he’s going to feel it a little bit more today. (He’s) getting worked out, getting treatment. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Next up, Jayson Tatum. The three-time All-Star suffered what Udoka referred to as a “stinger” to his right shoulder in Game 3.

He, too, managed to finish the game in the final frame. Ime also delivered an update on center Rob Williams, who sat out Saturday night.

“Jayson’s fine. It’s a stinger that went away pretty quickly, and then, Rob has improved,” Udoka said. “He feels better than he did yesterday. Like I said, it’s day-to-day. We’ll test it out tomorrow and see how he feels at shootaround.”

Udoka Keys-in On Celtics’ Biggest Mistakes in Game 3

As for Game 3 itself, Ime had the courtesy to go through the Celtics’ laundry list of ways Boston can do things differently in Game 4 to bounce back and avoid going down 3-1 in its best-of-7 series. Udoka also highlighted blunders that stuck out the most in Game 3.

“The careless turnovers,” Udoka said. “Scoring 33 points off our (23 turnovers), getting 22 more shots off of 19 steals, specifically; obviously, those things stand out. And, a lot were us playing in a crowd, trying to do too much, and not making the simple passes. When you look at those areas, we’ve had some good carryover at times. But, at times, have taken a step back in the kind of battle we’ve had this year of making the simple play. Miami is a team that loads up like Milwaukee did like Brooklyn did. So, we’ve seen it throughout the playoffs and just understanding how to get our guys better looks.

“Making quick decisions and not holding the ball and getting stagnant. So, that’s the main thing that stood out.”

Udoka: ‘It Wasn’t a Bunch of Adjustments

Miami’s physicality made the difference when things mattered most down the stretch, which is something Udoka says he will do a better job of preparing his team.

“We were kind of caught off guard by that. I could have done a better job of coaching us, preparing us for that,” Udoka said. “I mentioned it quite a few times. But, the team did as well. Miami, historically, since I’ve played against them for 10-plus years now, they try to go harder and try to be more physical. It wasn’t a bunch of adjustments; it’s increasing their physicality. Marcus mentioned it before the game, Al mentioned it, and I mentioned it. So, it was disappointing to get caught off guard like that, us knowing that’s really what they’re going to go to and what they went to in Game 1.

“It’s something we have to get better at.”


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