BOSTON — If nothing else, the Boston Celtics have been adaptable this season.
That adaptability now will be put to the test more so than any other point this season, as Boston is tasked with a fully healthy Milwaukee Bucks squad in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs.
Because of injuries to players like Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart, others like Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown all will be relied on heavily against Milwaukee. While having to deploy many youngsters like Boston has to could strike fear in plenty of coaches, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is excited, and sees it as a tremendous opportunity.
“I’m excited for all those guys, because this is a great opportunity for (them),” Stevens said before Sunday’s Game 1. “They’ve prepared really hard, they’ve prepared really well, and now I want them to play free, and again, do what they do best and that is compete. And I think Terry is a big-time competitor, Terry’s excited for the challenge, as is everybody else.
“There’s a lot of guys that get increased opportunity in our group that maybe they didn’t think that was the case three months ago,” Stevens continued. “So it’s a tremendous opportunity for them, and again I’ve been really pleased with how they prepared for it, and we’ll see how Game 1 goes.”
Though Boston is the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, it has its work cut out for it against a Bucks team that’s proven to be an extremely tough customer to their opposition. Seldom has Milwaukee been at full strength this season, but health is nary a worry at the moment this postseason.
But for Boston, players like Rozier and Tatum have been granted big opportunities to make an impact throughout the campaign, and they’ve done their part in executing. Now, we’ll see if that translates to a much bigger stage.
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