BOSTON — Brad Stevens knows just how good his lineup is, even when they’re not 100 percent healthy.
The Celtics head coach has had to deal with a fair share of injuries during his tenure in Boston. But he lauded the ability of players to step up when anyone is out following the C’s 123-103 thumping of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night at TD Garden — particularly Terry Rozier and Brad Wanamaker.
Rozier proved to be an integral part in Boston’s Eastern Conference finals run last year against the then-LeBron James-led Cavaliers. The guard tallied a game-high 26 points, which included a first half in which he was perfect from the field.
Wanamaker, on the other hand, hasn’t gotten the minutes Rozier has, but he’s made the most of every opportunity. The guard was one of six Celtics to score in double digits in Wednesday’s win, putting up 11.
Because the C’s are so talented when 100 percent healthy, Stevens knows the 29-year-old won’t get as many minutes coming off the bench as he would when someone is out with an injury.
“It’s really hard to do that with our lineup being what it is,” Stevens said when asked if he’d like to play Wanamaker more. “I think as much as you can you wanna try and get guys their regular minutes unless it’s a unique game or unique circumstance. They’re already in a position where they’re getting less and so I think it’s really important when Terry Rozier is coming off the bench that he gets as many of those minutes as possible.
“The answer is yes, you always wanna play everybody more,” he added. “But it’s just hard to do. You can only play five at a time and we’re fully healthy.”
With a fully healthy squad expected for Saturday’s showdown against the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, that likely means Wanamaker won’t see as many minutes as he did Wednesday when both Al Horford and Kyrie Irving sat out.
But if and when Wanamaker checks in Saturday, we can bet he will leave it all on the court much like he’s done with every opportunity.
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