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.
Brad Stevens said he didn’t know if his team’s game at San Antonio Wednesday was on or not, but he said he didn’t want the Celtics to fly from Chicago to Texas until he knows for sure.
The Spurs’ game against New Orleans, Monday was postponed because neither team had the NBA minimum eight available players as contact tracing thinned both team’s rosters. San Antonio’s health and safety protocol issues are new as they beat Washington, Sunday night.
“My thought would be, we should not fly there until we know,” Stevens said.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan said that he was under the impression that the NBA planned to reschedule that game and had even explored rescheduling it around the teams’ Monday meeting, but Boston already had too many games too close together to shoehorn it in.
But now if the Celtics aren’t playing the Spurs, there’s a wide-open date. The Bulls’ Wednesday game against Memphis has already been called off because of the Grizzlies’ roster is too small to play. Both teams would have an open date.
I’ve decided that this will be my philosophy for the regular season:
If the Celtics look good, I’m going to be happy. And if they look bad, I’m not going to worry too much.
And it’s because of stuff like this, The C’s could end up flying to Texas for a game that winds up being postponed. Or they could end up having to fly to Texas on short notice because the game is going ahead as planned. Or they could end up finding out later today that they’re going to be playing Chicago again tomorrow night. Any way you slice it, it’s not like the C’s can proceed as normal following last night’s win. They’re going to be in limbo today.
By the way, I love that the league’s euphemism for quarantine is “contact tracing.”
It implies that guys are being held out of games so that a thorough investigation of the matter can occur. And not because the tests are not 100% reliable, this illness is quite contagious with prolonged close contact, and the only way to be certain that a guy doesn’t have COVID-19 is for several days to elapse without symptoms.
Page 2: Where it’s good to have the Jays back
The Bulls kept the score fairly close throughout the first half, but a 18-2 Celtics run to start the third quarter made it tough for Chicago to mount a serious comeback attempt.
Jaylen Brown played a key role in that surge with 14 points in the third quarter. He led the C’s with 26 points overall. Marcus Smart scored 13 points and dished out 11 assists — tying his career high. C’s rookie Aaron Nesmith also contributed off the bench with nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Jayson Tatum returned to the lineup after missing the last five games, and he scored 24 points in 31 minutes.
Yesterday, Chuck talked about Jaylen’s emergence as a playmaker. Now that Jayson’s back, I’m guessing that a fair bit of that load is going to go back on Jayson’s shoulders. And I don’t think that’s going to bother Jaylen much.
One of the subjects that was canvassed over the off-season, along with the emergence of Jayson as a superstar-in-the-making, was the need to keep Jayson “happy.” A few people suggested that the C’s should consider signing friend-of-Jayson Harry Giles. However, I don’t think you get anywhere with a quality player by going out of your way to ‘make him happy.’ The Heat wasted a first round pick on Shabazz Napier after LeBron tweeted something about him during the NCAA tournament, and after James returned to Cleveland, the Cavs doled out contracts to J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson that were well in excess of market value, only to handicap their ability to negotiate the trade and free agent markets, which led to LeBron grousing about their failure to ‘improve their roster,’ and a second departure from the team.
To my way of thinking, the best way to ‘keep Jayson happy’ is to keep Jaylen around. Jaylen is a guy who ‘gives the game what it needs.’ Now that Jayson is back, Jaylen will adjust his game, and if that means people no longer write flattering pieces that suggest he should be in the ‘conversation‘ for this year’s MVP award, so be it. Jaylen strikes me as a guy who does not need accolades for validation. I’m sure that he would rather be an All-Star than not, but he’s not going to push his own numbers at the expense of team success to achieve that goal.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the C’s, at least at this point, remind me of the ’60s teams: Bill Russell was the heart and soul of that team–but on the court, he was never asked to carry a load on offense. People still discredit what he did for the C’s on the basis of his career box score, and he cares no more about that now than he did then. Jayson is the team’s primary scoring option. But he seems uninterested in pushing Marcus Smart out of his role as de facto team captain. And I get the sense that he doesn’t overvalue what he contributes to the team’s success.
The rest of the links
Boston.com: 5 takeaways from Celtics vs. Bulls, as Jayson Tatum describes mental toll of COVID | Celtics defeat Bulls 119-103 as Jayson Tatum returns from COVID-19 restrictions | ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says he would only trade Jaylen Brown for ‘3-4 players’