Boston’s convincing win without its three stars was a reminder that sometimes, they just don’t need them.
No Kyrie Irving. No Al Horford. No Gordon Hayward, either. No problem.
The Boston Celtics still did away with the New Orleans Pelicans, 113-110, on Monday night. It was a wire-to-wire win in which Boston flexed its defensive muscle and its connective offensive tissue. And it was a victory that was a reminder just how deep this Celtics team can go, especially when the playoffs roll around in April.
Boston showed it didn’t need Irving to run up a 113-point tab, and it didn’t need Horford to hold the Pelicans to just 100 points. Anthony Davis went for 41 on 50 percent shooting from the field, but few teams can contain the Pelicans’ star. Outside of Julius Randle’s 20 points, no other New Orleans players scored in double figures.
Meanwhile, Marcus Morris went for 31 points, Jayson Tatum ran up 21 points, and Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Semi Ojeleye combined for 40. Boston looked sound on both ends of the floor. They were the better team, despite being overmatched with an MVP candidate on the other side of the floor.
The Celtics are really good, no matter who they put on the floor
We wrote about this last year, when Irving, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis suffered long-term injuries in the second-half of the season. The Celtics still pushed through the first two rounds of the playoffs before taking LeBron James’ Cavaliers to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
This is a byproduct of incredible head coaching by Brad Stevens, a genius X’s and O’s guy who can put anyone onto the floor and watch them succeed in their minutes of play. With Davis and Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans had two of the three best players on the floor. It didn’t matter. In the second game of a back-to-back, the Pelicans were out of gas and short three of their most important players: Nikola Mirotic (injured in first quarter), E’Twaun Moore and Elfrid Payton. The Stevens out-coached Alvin Gentry. It was as simple as that.
The Celtics are ridiculously deep, with talent stacked at every position
They have the brightest future of any franchise in the NBA, and the future keeps getting brighter thanks to general manager Danny Ainge’s relentless wheeling and dealing.
After all, Boston has four (4!) first-round picks in this the 2019 NBA Draft: the better of Sacramento’s and Philadelphia’s, the Clippers’ (protected No. 1-14), Memphis’ (protected top-8) and their own. And odds are, Boston will continue dealing those picks and young players to put themselves in a better position in the future.
The only question left is how long Ainge will continue to stockpile assets before pulling the trigger on a mega deal. Boston’s roster is already crowded with talent, and there’s only one ball to go around. We already watched the Celtics deal Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the 2018 Brooklyn pick (No. 8, Collin Sexton) to Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas.
Is another deal in the works, maybe for Davis in the future? With Ainge in control, anything is possible.
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