Why Celtics should consider resting Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown again

By WEEI 93.7

No Jayson Tatum. No Jaylen Brown. No Enes Kanter. No problem against the No. 7 team in the East?

And the Magic entered Friday 13-9 at home in 2019-20. With those three out, it wouldn’t have been stunning if the Celtics lost by 11. Instead, it was the inverse.

With the 109-98 win, the Celtics should consider giving Tatum and Brown another night off — Kanter didn’t travel to Orlando and isn’t heading to New Orleans, either. (For a complete recap of the Celtics' win, click here.)

First reason being, Boston stole a game they should’ve lost given the slew of injuries. That doesn’t mean the C’s can throw away a game. They need all the help they can get to climb back to the second spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

But the Celtics are always about the big picture.

So, a big picture move would be to give two of your best players an extra day to recover from what could easily become nagging injuries. Plus, it’d be more beneficial for the Celtics to have Tatum and Brown fresh for their game in Miami on Tuesday. That game directly impacts one of the teams ahead of the Celtics in the standings, and Boston needs their top guys at their best in those big games.

The Pelicans may have new life with Zion Williamson finally getting involved, but Tuesday’s game is more significant, in the grand scheme of things, than Sunday’s matchup in New Orleans.

Kemba going for the kill pic.twitter.com/b4DtsbYO1S

— Dan Greenberg (@StoolGreenie) January 25, 2020

When you look at Friday’s game, yes, Kemba Walker (37 points on 12-for-23 shooting) and Gordon Hayward (22 points and 14 rebounds) led the charge. But the role guys also had the chance to have a greater impact on the game — and followed through. They needed to do the little things and provide some level of offense to help pick up the slack and make sure the game didn’t get out of hand when Walker and Hayward rested.

“It’s nice. It’s nice when you see — when guys just come in and bring you energy,” Walker said of the Celtics bench. “And tonight, the way they did it, it was perfect timing.”

As much as he struggled from long-range to start the year, Grant Williams (nine points, 3-for-4 from deep) hasn’t looked back since he knocked down his first NBA 3-pointer. His overall 3-point percentage is still ugly (24.5%), but that could creep much closer toward the league average (35.4%) by the end of the regular season.

Now up to 43.8 percent.

— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) January 25, 2020

Brad Wanamaker has struggled of late, but he played much better in his 16 minutes on Friday. Semi Ojeleye got in some work against Aaron Gordon. Now he should get a chance against Williamson, too.

Then there’s Boston’s human highlight reel, Javonte Green.

What a sequence. pic.twitter.com/fZ33S2RqAg

— Nick Friar (@Nick_Friar) January 25, 2020

Two big dunks in his seven-point, six-rebound performance. He also had three steals in his 28 minutes, while guarding Terrence Ross (eight points on 3-for-14 shooting) — who the Celtics hoped to slow down heading into Friday.

“Ross killed us last year, all three games,” Brad Stevens told reporters in Orlando. “So we talked to Javonte this morning about, ‘Tatum (is) probably out, Jaylen might be out. You need to be ready to guard (Ross) as hard as you can.’ He spent all day watching extra and preparing extra, and that’s what you have to do.

“So, hats off to (Green). He’s the one we singled out in the locker room because that’s what good teams do. They have guys that take those little things about the game and try to help you win.”

-- @2Xtremebounce -- pic.twitter.com/AQGSjdekRX

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 25, 2020

Green has something to offer, there’s no question about it. The game still speeds up on him at times — which has nothing to do with his athleticism because that’s obviously not an issue — but his performance on Friday was one of his best as a Celtic.

Give Green and some of these other guys extra time again on Sunday. Let’s see who can earn the chance to play significant minutes against a tough Miami team — and, in the process, give Tatum and Brown a little extra time off.

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