Celtics Head into All-Star Weekend on a Two Game Win Streak
Boston, Massachusetts - After a big win over the Philadelphia 76ers (a definitive contender for the most important of the season so far), the Boston Celtics proved that they were not complying with the on-again, off-again approach by downing the Detroit Pistons in the next game by a score of 118-110.
Still without Kyrie Irving, Boston implemented a much smaller rotation in their matchup with the Pistons and head coach Brad Stevens chose to scratch Guerschon Yabusele and PJ Dozier from the bench, in addition to the injuries that kept Irving, Robert Williams, and Terry Rozier sidelined. And for a while, it didn't seem to hamper the Celtics' game plan at all Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, and Gordon Hayward led the charge from the lineup and Jaylen Brown picked up the slack on the bench, as he posted seventeen points.
The Pistons picked up a late lead, but the Celtics rallied for the win. Led by Tatum's nineteen points, every player in the starting lineup posted double digit point totals, in addition to fourteen rebounds racked up by Horford and an impressive eighteen point effort from Hayward to follow up his team-leading twenty-six from the game against the 76ers.
A lot of the signs from the Celtics were promising. Obviously, they would love to have Kyrie back and healthy as he is their superstar, but the rest of the team has impressively picked up the slack in his absence. For one, Brown continues to show strides since late December and he seems to have drastically improved as he grows more comfortable with his position as a young role play with potential for more. For another, Hayward has been astounding. I won't call it a breakthrough yet, but the stories of Hayward being the best in practice (which is why his morose in-game performances were so confusing) might finally come to fruition if he can continue to push past his mental block.
The Celtics aren't where they need to be. Not yet. But at 37-21 at the season's midway point, things could be a lot worse. Look for Irving and Tatum during the All-Star Weekend!