BOSTON — Dennis Schröder put together his finest performance yet as a Celtic on Friday night and Boston needed every ounce of it.
The 28-year-old jumpstarted the Celtics’ offense in their wild 122-113 overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden, scoring 14 points in the first quarter alone. He didn’t slow down, and ended up leading the Boston attack all night finishing with a game-high 38 points in the win.
With Jaylen Brown out of the lineup with a hamstring injury, Schröder’s role in the Boston offense has expanded and he has taken the opportunity and run with it. Friday was the guard’s third straight game with 20 or more points and blew his previous high as a member of the Celtics at 23 out of the water.
Schröder was integral to the Boston win Friday night and put the team on his back late with 20 points in the fourth quarter and overtime period combined and head coach Ime Udoka had nothing but praise afterwards.
“He’s finding his way. He’s brought his bench role to the starting lineup. He’s been very aggressive. We liked some of the matchups he had early and he got going. But we continue to let these guys know that mismatches aren’t always for yourselves and we felt he was penetrating and making nice passes. So he did a little bit of both. Then he got hot late and we kind of rode his hand there other than (Marcus Smart’s) 12 points in that third quarter. He’s an aggressive guy. He can do both. I think he had a great night tonight which we needed.”
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum also shouted out the guard after his big night and talked about his importance to the team.
“It was big. Obviously we needed it. When we’ve got guys out, whether it’s (Jaylen Brown) or whatever more guys are going to have an opportunity,” Tatum said. “We definitely needed it tonight.”
Brown may return on the squad’s road trip but likely won’t meaning Schröder’s role in the offense seemingly will continue to stay as large as it has in his absence and that seems like the best thing right now.
After a slow start to the season, the Celtics have won four of their last five games and finally now are back at .500 with a 6-6 record. Schröder joined the team on an obviously undervalued deal and now his 16.5 points per game and seamless transition into the starting lineup and depth provided seriously are on display.