As if the Celtics needed more bad news, Daniel Theis is out for the season with a torn meniscus. Though Theis isn’t yet a household NBA name, it’s a significant blow. Theis has part of a Celtics bench unit that’s been one of the best in the league, and provided Boston with its only high-energy, somewhat-athletic big man.
Kyrie’s sore knee
Kyrie Irving has everybody nervous. One of the NBA’s best leaders under adversity sat out part of Sunday’s game against the Pacers as well as a recent game against the Chicago Bulls. He may need extended rest for a sore knee that has bothered him on and off this season and in the past. “I think it’s something he will need to manage the rest of his career,” Danny Ainge suggested several days ago during his weekly radio interview.
“I think (rest) will probably be the best thing, just instead of kind of hoping it gets better over the two or three days that it usually does,” Irving said to reporters. “It’s aching a little bit more than I wanted it to now, so I’m taking the necessary time.”
With the Celtics seemingly locked in on the #2 seed, this may indeed be the right time to really rest and heal. And given what Celtics fans hope will be a long #BannersAreFlat career, it’s even more compelling over the long haul.
Jaylen Brown continues in the NBA’s concussion protocol. He’ll miss at least a week, if not more. Brad Stevens put it well, saying the Celtics “care more about the team’s health” than they do about playoff seeding. And Jaylen Brown’s brain is, demonstrably, one of the team’s greatest assets.
Al Horford is “just sick,” and may return as early as Wednesday’s game at Washington. With Theis out, the Celtics need Horford all the more.
Tom Heinsohn — “Tommy” to Celtics nation — returned to the microphone for Sunday’s Pacers broadcast on NBC. More about Tommy-fest here. “Hey, at least one Celtic is coming out of the infirmary,” as one wag noted on Reddit.
Kadeem Allen saw action for the eighth time this season, but not for long. Poor Allen was inserted when Theis had to check out late in the game. Victor Oladipo made two free throws, and Allen was replaced by Semi Ojeleye. He thus earned a -2 on the floor. Which must make for a horrible DRPM, NetRtg, and so on — but also exposes where even some advanced stats fall short.
Semi Ojeleye played just under nine minutes and gave energy and defense. The Celtics will need that with Theis gone. For what it’s worth, he led the Celtics in ORtg for the game (140.) Though only 6-7, “he’s about 6-10 in muscles,” and may be pressed into action against opposing power forwards.
We seldom quibble with Brad Stevens — check our timeline. But it did seem curious that with the Celtics trailing by two points, and less than 3 seconds to play, Greg Monroe wasn’t in the game to take a potential lob — or rebound a miss. Monroe is a guy who can get you two points when you really, really need it. It’s sort of what he does.
Shane Larkin had an off night against Indiana, shooting 0-4 in 16 minutes. He’s been trending upward most of the season, especially in a rare start against the Bulls. Indeed, his improved shooting makes him Exhibit B in our case for The Stevens Effect.