Kemba Walker’s Knee
It has been six months since Kemba Walker first missed time due to left knee soreness. Fast forward to now, and that pain still seems to be present. Walker played in only one of the Celtics scrimmage games, in which he logged nine minutes. During an interview Brad Stevens said “His knee is the strongest it’s been since he got here in September”. Stevens then went on to say, “(He) will play limited minutes in the first few games with the idea of building him up — hopefully with no setbacks — to the point where he can play normal minutes in playoff games.”
The future for Walker seems optimistic, but tonight’s game will likely be used to ease him back into competitive basketball. It is not expected that Kemba will play any more than 20 minutes tonight, or that he will be anywhere near his full self. Keep an eye out for how his knee looks but in the end, do not read into his performance tonight too much.
Will We See February Tatum?
For those unaware of what the term Febuary Jayson Tatum means, let’s use a quote from LeBron James. An “absolute problem” is what LeBron called Tatum after his 41-point outburst against the Lakers. February Tatum earned the Eastern Conference Player of the Month award, averaging 30.7 points per game. While he was on this tear, he made it clear that he was the best player of the Celtics.
There will be certainly rust, which he displayed in the scrimmage games he appeared in. However, with Kemba not at full strength, Tatum will likely be shouldering much of the load for the Celtics on the offensive end. Now it would be unfair to expect Tatum to play like he did before the season was suspended, but since when have Boston fans been fair.
Giannis Antetokoumpo is currently the Best Basketball Player in the World! Giannis is en route to win his second straight MVP, despite not having a consistent jumper. The reason for this: Giannis is virtually unstoppable inside.
This season, one of the Celtics glaring weaknesses has been defending the paint against big men. In the Celtics first scrimmage, Daniel Theis and company were unable to contain Thunder center Steven Adams who scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the first half alone. Giannis will be too quick for Theis so expect Theis’s contributions to come on help defense. From here, Stevens will likely elect to throw different combinations at Giannis, hoping to catch him off guard.
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