Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Boston Celtics said rookie point guard Payton Pritchard will be off the court for at least two weeks after suffering a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee during Friday night’s 122-110 loss in Philadelphia to the 76ers.
Pritchard needed to be helped off the court after Jaylen Brown fell into his leg in the second quarter. The Celtics ruled him out for the rest of the game a short time later. Pritchard eventually rejoined his teammates on the bench.
The 26th pick in November’s NBA draft, Pritchard has been a revelation for the Celtics, instantly carving out a spot in coach Brad Stevens’ rotation. He is averaging 7.7 points while shooting 42.5% from 3-point range.
Two weeks? THANK GOD.
Anyone who saw the injury unfold (a cheap push by that clown Dwight Howard knocked Jaylen Brown into FastPP’s leg) and the frightened look on Pritchard’s face feared the worst.
At least two weeks probably means three, but at least the kid didn’t lose his season.
Jayson Tatum will miss tonight’s game vs Cleveland and Aaron Nesmith remains doubtful
with an inability to hit jumpers backs spasms.
The Celtics will continue to ramp up Kemba’s minutes, but what really worries me is the regression of Jeff Teague. I loved his signing, but the guy seemingly plays worse in each game. His play is so bad, John Karalis, Mr. Even Keel, called for his ouster mid-game Friday night.
Teague needs to play better because 1) the team needs him and 2) he’s probably going to remain on this roster until the trade deadline.
It’s amazing how a lousy two-game stretch against a faux rival and an injury to fan-favorite can erase good vibes. One week ago, the Celtics were sitting atop the Eastern Conference despite Kemba’s absence and COVID-19.
On Page 2, Marcus Smart is shooting too much.
One look at Smart’s scoring line from Friday night doesn’t leave much to complain about on the surface from his night. 20 points on 7-of-17 FG and a team-high 7 assists in 39 minutes. That’s a very good night for Marcus Smart and therein lies the problem.
40 percent shooting for Smart is above-average. (He’s a 37 percent career shooter). 40 percent shooting for a high volume scorer is not a good thing for any team and that’s what Smart has been far too much this season.
Brian Robb delves into the numbers over the past two seasons and the magic number appears to be 12:
The eye test has always told us that Smart shoots too much. But I’ve always accepted it as the bad that comes with the good (spectacular defense, emotional leader, good playmaking).
Even when you account for Smart being pressed into extended duty due to injuries, these numbers are startling. The Celtics need to find a way to corral Smart’s shooting.
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