The Boston Celtics were low on ball handlers and it showed in a narrow loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
Sophomore guard Tremont Waters had a huge hand in making things interesting, though.
Head coach Brad Stevens plugged him into the lineup to start the fourth quarter, and in that time he and Tatum took over the fourth. Waters finished with nine points, one rebound and one assist in the showing. And on defense he was scrappy, recording two steals and almost forcing a few more turnovers in just eight minutes of play.
Though Boston ultimately fell 102-96, inserting Waters into the mix down the stretch was the right move by Stevens.
“We were a little clunky in the first half without a pure point, tried to play Romeo (Langford) there a little bit,” Stevens said, explaining the decision in his postgame media availability. “You know, I don’t know if that’s in his wheelhouse yet, but he’s got to get to the point where it is, with his size and his ability to pass the ball. But I thought that Tremont, with Payton (Pritchard) out, would give us the best chance to be organized. And, Tremont’s just got a knack, you know? He did not play well in the Lakers game, so he was hungry to play well. And I thought he really lifted us up and, you know, he got his hands on a couple more balls that could have gone our way too that would have been huge plays.”
Starting point guard Kemba Walker was out Monday against the Bulls, as was Marcus Smart, as an illness seems to be ripping through the Celtics locker room. They’re expected to be back soon, but Waters made the most of his opportunity to help the Celtics in the mean time.
Having hit every shot he took after sitting on the bench through three quarters, he has reason to feel good about the loss.