Monday, Oct. 9 – 76ers at Celtics
Pregame – Celtics Will Rest Stars vs. 76ers
BOSTON – Celtics stars Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Kyrie Irving will all be spectators Monday night when Boston hosts the Philadelphia 76ers in its third preseason contest. Meanwhile, a few youngsters will get a chance to shine, as Brad Stevens will roll out with a starting five consisting of Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Aron Baynes.
Stevens’ reasoning behind the shakeup is less about resting his stars and more about giving the second unit and others further down the bench a chance to see extended action on the court.
“Some of those guys will be in the second unit together and it gives them a chance to play extended minutes, which is good,” Stevens said ahead of the 7:30 tip-off. “And then obviously that gives other guys a chance to play.”
Considering that there are so many new pieces on the Celtics’ roster, it’s important that the various units get extended playing time together. The on-court chemistry will surely take time to form, but so far, Stevens has been encouraged by what he’s seen.
“I feel really good about where we are, considering we’re just 13 days in,” said Stevens. “I don’t think we’re by any means a finished product, and I do think we can get better, but we’ll play the way we’re playing tonight, and then tomorrow we’ll travel (to Charlotte.) And Wednesday we’ll play everybody that’s available.”
Another significant player who will not be available Monday night is Marcus Morris. The veteran swingman missed training camp and the first few days of preseason while he was on trial facing felony assault charges. He was acquitted of the charges and joined the team Thursday, but he is still working his way back into playing shape.
“He’s had a tough few weeks, obviously, and I think being cognizant of that is important,” said Stevens. “It’s a long season, and as much as he wants to be out there, as much as everybody would love to see him out there, at the end of the day, he’s got to progress appropriately so that he feels great when he does get back out there.”
The goal is for Morris to be ready to play Wednesday in Charlotte, along with Hayward, Horford, Irving and the rest of the C’s.
– Taylor C. Snow