BOSTON — When the Celtics first acquired Xavier Tillman Sr. hours ahead of February’s NBA trade deadline, the team knew it’d be a while before the 25-year-old would settle into adapting to a new system.

Tillman joined the Celtics from the Memphis Grizzlies while still on the injured list (knee), which was never expected to be lengthy. When finally being implemented in Boston’s rotation, Tillman showed encouraging signs by coming off the bench and providing exactly what Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens envisioned on deadline day: size and versatility.

Soon enough, that could earn Tillman an early promotion from Boston’s reserve unit as the regular season quickly winds down.

“He’s ready or else I wouldn’t have trusted putting him in the game (on Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks),” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said before Sunday afternoon’s matchup with the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden. “I think the story isn’t about Xavier. It’s about our role guys and our bench guys and the good job that they’re doing, the professionalism that they’re doing staying ready.”

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When thrown into the rotation as Boston extended its winning streak to 10 games against Dallas, Tillman got heavily involved. He was active on the glass, making it difficult for the Mavericks to find points on the interior, and also helped the Celtics maintain their smooth facilitating offense to further apply pressure. Tillman finished with six points in 15 minutes on the floor, leaving an impression at just the right time.

“(Tillman) said he didn’t know he was going in. Neither did I until I saw what Dallas’s lineup was to start the quarter,” Mazzulla added. “And it’s a credit to our bench where they have the open-mindedness and professionalism to always be ready and understand that the best lineup gives us the best chance to win that segment of minutes.”

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Boston entered its regular-season finale with Golden State shorthanded, listing Kristaps Porzingis as out with a left quad contusion. Meanwhile, down in the G-League, two-way big Neemias Queta suffered a right knee hyperextension, which Mazzulla deemed “nothing serious.”

Both developments could open the door Tillman’s awaited since landing with Boston. Granted, Porzingis and Queta didn’t go down with anything major, however, Mazzulla stresses the importance of preparation. In order for Tillman to get to that point and gain the necessary comfort alongside his new Celtics teammates, it’ll require experience.

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Tillman’s logged nine minutes per game through two games in a Boston uniform, and when roster absences present depth voids to be filled, the opportunity to further showcase will be waiting.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images