Pregame Post-Ups: C's Set to Face Pacers Without Brown, Horford
Sunday, March 11 - Pacers at Celtics
Pregame – C's Set to Face Pacers Without Brown, Horford
BOSTON - The Boston Celtics were in the process of figuring out Jaylen Brown's replacement for Sunday night's game against the Indiana Pacers, when they found out that they'd actually have to make two alterations to their starting rotation.
The team announced Friday that Brown had entered the NBA's concussion protocol after taking a nasty fall the previous night in Minnesota, guaranteeing his absence for Sunday's game. Then, just two hours before tip-off, the team revealed that a sick Al Horford would also be sidelined.
"He's in bed hurtin'. That's all I know," Celtics coach Brad Stevens told members of the media shortly after hearing of Horford's situation. "I guess he has a fever. He tried to come in, but he was told to stay home."
Stevens has opted to add the two Marcuses to the starting lineup, with Marcus Smart taking Brown's place at the wing and Marcus Morris taking Horford's place at the 4.
It was not ideal for Stevens to remove the pair from the second unit, considering the success they had been having alongside Terry Rozier and other reserves. Last week, the coach refused to mess with the second unit's chemistry when Kyrie Irving missed a game with knee soreness. However, he was left with limited options Sunday night being down multiple bodies.
"It's a little different when you're missing two starters rather than one," said Stevens. "And, we're going to have to match a ton of different guys onto (Victor) Oladipo, and Smart will be one of the guys that we need to make sure is out there as much as possible."
Fortunately, both of Boston's sidelined starters shouldn't be out for long. Horford's illness will likely leave him day-to-day, while Brown is continuing to progress and could be back as early as next week.
"Jaylen felt better today," said Stevens. "Today was his best day. His head 'feels better' is the way he phrased it to me. And his body is starting to feel a little bit better. So, he's making progress, but I don't anticipate him being on the court this week. But hopefully as we enter next week, we'll see where he's at in the protocol."
In the meantime, the shorthanded Celtics will have their hands full Sunday night as they take on a thriving Indiana team that has been on a roll over the past month.
- Taylor Snow