By Patrick Whalen
Coming into tonights action the Celtics had won 5 straight and were looking to make it 6 straight against the Pelicans. The only problem was that the Celtics injury report filled up before the game as they were without Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Aron Baynes, or Guerschon Yabusele. This meant like much of last year guys would have to step up their game for the Celtics to win. The line up Brad Stevens chose to go with last night was Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris and Daniel Theis while sticking with Jaylen Brown as the sixth man. Most Celtics fans were praying for Anthony Davis not to play as he was questionable coming in with a hip injury but he did suit up for New Orleans last night which caused some fans to just accept the loss before tip off. But those fans forget that these Celtics really don’t care who is out on the floor because they are gonna compete on every possesion which is how despite missing 5 guys they were able to pull out a 113-100 win over New Orleans for their sixth win in a row.
The Celtics offense was led by Marcus Morris Sr who went for 31 points on 10-15 shooting inculding 5-8 from three. Jayson Tatum also had a good night as he went for 21 points on 10-15 shooting including these two hammer slams.
Jayeln Brown also kept hot off the bench as he had 19 points and 7 rebounds. But with the pethera of injuries last night we got to see some of the younger players make big impacts in extended minutes. Semi Ojeyele went for 11 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes and Robert Williams III went for 7 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 26 minutes (Basketball-Refernce.com). Did I mention 2 of those blocks were on Anthony Davis.
Williams in extended minutes showed his great promise on the defensive end last night, besides the 3 blocks he also held the great Anthony Davis to 7-17 shooting when he was gaurding him (Dan Greenberg). With this kind of performance and with the Celtics frontcourt looking very thin for the next few games at least we could see Williams take advantage of this opportunity to prove why he should get more minutes when the entire rosters is healthy.
On the pelicans side Davis till put up probably the quietest 41 points I’ve ever seen and Julius Randle still notched a double double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. But the Celtics were able to shut down their other two big offensive pieces as they held Jrue Holiday to 7 point and Nikola Mirotic to 3 points. it was also great to see on the dfensive end for the Celtics were pressuring the ball as the team totaled for 8 steals and 5 blocks. Another great note from last night that despite lacking the froncourt depth and going up against AD the Celtics actually dominated the rebounding battle 51-39.
This game shows exactly why Brad Stevens is such a great coach because despite missing 5 players including the teams 3 main stars he was still able to motivate his guys to go out and compete and ultimately come out with a win. The Celtics are now red hot and its a great time for them to find their grove as their schedule is relativly easy for the rest of the month as they currently on have 4 teams with above .500 records on the schedule until new years.
Up next they head down to the nations captial on Wednesday to take on John Wall and the struggling Wizards. From what the injury report said it sounds like both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie should be back for Wednesday as Hayward was out with an illness and Kyrie with a sore right shoulder. Meanwhile from what Celtics sideline reported Abby Chin said during pregame it sounds like Al Horford might be out again on Wednesday as he has been diagnosed with patellar tentonitis and the Celtics said they are going to be cautious with Al. Also Aron Baynes and Guerschon Yabusele are most likely out again both with ankle injuries. Despite all the injuries thought we all know the Celtics will still go out with whoever they got and compete. Lets see if they can keep it rolling against the Wizards Wednesday night and stretch this streak to 7 in a row.