The Boston Celtics have been superb on back-to-back situations over the last few seasons, securing an 8-3 record on games with no rest this season.
That record will be put to the test against the Utah Jazz, as “rest” isn’t in their lexicon on Friday.
The Celtics, who put together an absolute butt-kicking of the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, had a little bit of trouble trying to return home to Boston following the game. Well, at least that was the rumor floating around TD Garden, despite Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla refusing to acknowledge it.
“Joe Mazzulla is refusing to acknowledge that the team flight was delayed from last night to this morning,” Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweeted Friday afternoon. “We’re safe, we’re rested, we got a good night’s sleep. We were getting here today either way.”
Nevertheless, even if the Celtics did get back at a reasonable hour, they will be without a pair of key contributors.
Al Horford (lower-back stiffness) and Rob Williams (knee injury management) have been ruled out, just as they have for most games where the Celtics enter on less than 24 hours of rest. Boston will see the return of Payton Pritchard, however, who will play alongside stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown despite the two All-Stars being listed as questionable.
Pritchard missed the game against Milwaukee after returning in limited action against the Washington Wizards in an ugly loss Tuesday.
Blake Griffin and Grant Williams are expected to start in the frontcourt for Boston against a Utah squad that is equally shorthanded. Jazz starters Colin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson were all ruled out prior to the contest.