Opening Up The Files On The Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics: Healthy roster causes lineup and rotation adjustments

The Boston Celtics returned to the court for the first game after the All-Star break on Thursday night in Indiana with a fully healthy roster and a title change for their head coach Joe Mazzulla, who earned the promotion just before the break.

This was just the second time this season Boston used their championship starting lineup from last year: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, and Rob Williams. 

With a healthy roster, Mazzulla altered his lineups, causing low minutes and DNPCD’s in the overtime loss to the Pacers. Grant Williams logged only six minutes total, all in the first half, while Payton Pritchard, Mike Muscala, and Blake Griffin didn’t enter the game at all.

Sam Hauser stepped up big during the time Brown was out with his face injury. He turned around his shooting slump and has looked like the sniper that Boston’s been intrigued with since signing him as an undrafted rookie free agent and then giving him a contract extension over the summer.

Derrick White returned to the bench after starting the last 13 games with Smart and Brown missing significant time prior to the All-Star break. In that time, he averaged 18.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.0 block per game while shooting 41.4 percent from behind the arc.

This is going to be a challenge moving forward, as there’s going to be good players not playing in a lot of these games for the Celtics. It’s a good problem to have, don’t get me wrong, but it’s an adjustment that Mazzulla is going to have to find a nice balance with.

In-game lineup adjustments is something we’ll see more of with a healthy roster moving forward from Mazzulla. He went small against the Pacers in the second half, shying away from the bigger rotations used to start with. And it worked. Mazzulla will likely have to make a similar decision on Saturday night in Philadelphia.

With 22 games remaining, we’re going to see more load management to key players heading into the playoffs. It was an organizational goal to not play to exhaustion, as we saw what happened to Boston in the Finals last year.

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Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer, Getty Images


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