BOSTON — The Celtics had business to attend to prior to their 125-117 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Boston added to its roster by pulling off a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, acquiring big man Xavier Tillman in exchange for Lamar Stevens and two future second-round picks.

It was a minor move from the Celtics ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, which was to be expected from Boston, but one that can still paid dividends given what Tillman can provide.

“Toughness,” Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla said on what the 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward can bring to the Celtics. “He can pass, skilled, high IQ. Obviously, a good defender in the pick-and-roll. Excited to have him. It will be important for him to get up to speed on our defensive schemes and he can give us some versatility.”

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Tillman averaged six points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 34 games with the Grizzlies this season, but he’s most known for his solid defensive play. He was the 2020 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in college with Michigan State.

Tillman is an adept pick-and-roll defender, which is essential skill in Boston’s switch-happy defensive scheme.

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“It’s important for our bigs to be versatile. They have to be able to,” Mazzulla said. “I think that’s where KP (Kristaps Porzingis) has grown in our system and I think where Al (Horford) and Luke (Kornet) are the foundation tools to our defense, is they have the ability to change matchups every possession. They have the ability to guard different guys. They can navigate off-ball communication, they can switch or they can their depth in pick-and-roll. It’s one of the most important positions in our defense is our bigs and their ability to be versatile. He’s shown that and just got to continue to coach him on it and get him up to speed on our system.”

Tillman’s defensive presence probably is a big reason why president of basketball operations Brad Stevens pulled the trigger on bringing him to Boston. But the fourth-year big will also provide depth to Boston’s front court and be able to spell at times an aging Horford, who is 37 and has a ton of miles on him in his 17th NBA season, or give Porzingis rest when needed.

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That’s something that Horford believes will only help the Celtics.

“It’s definitely a benefit,” Horford said after stuffing the stat sheet with 14 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four blocks against the Hawks. “We’re looking forward to having him here. He’s a guy that has played on good teams and understands how to play. I look forward to playing with him and seeing how he’s going to be able to help us down the stretch.”

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