3/11 Game Preview: Pacers at Celtics
BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics got some good news Saturday on Jaylen Brown.
Brown, who landed on his head and neck in a terrible fall Thursday night in Minnesota, won't play Sunday night against the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden and could miss a week while in concussion protocol. But the good news is the second-year leaper didn't suffer any other injuries in his fall that followed a dunk.
"He went through a series of tests yesterday that were more detailed even than the ones he went through in Minnesota," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after Saturday's practice. "Everything came back negative, so he's doing better.
"He's sore and he has entered the concussion protocol. As far as structurally, neck, back, shoulders, he's going to be fine. He will be out, obviously, (Sunday). I guess at some point, he becomes day to day, but I don't see that happening any time in the next couple days or week even."
Brown's athleticism could be missed in dealing with Victor Oladipo and the hot Pacers (38-28), who have won four of their last five and gone 8-3 in their last 11 to move within a half-game of the Central Division lead.
"I don't want to minimize (the concussion)," Stevens said. "A concussion is something that we have to make sure that he comes back 110 percent and goes through the whole protocol symptom free, all that stuff.
"It could have been a number of things with that fall, but I think, again, he's fortunate and we're fortunate that it's not. He'll go through the protocol and we won't bring him back until it's right."
The Celtics are 2-1 against the Pacers this season, but Oladipo has scored 73 points in the two games he has played against Boston.
Kyrie Irving has been an answer for the Celtics, who beat the Pacers twice in Indianapolis but lost to them at TD Garden on Feb. 9. Irving has 76 points in the three games.
The Pacers are coming off a 112-87 home victory over the Atlanta Hawks, who had beaten them in Atlanta a week earlier.
"We lost to them a week ago on their court," said Bogan Bogdanovic, who scored a team-high 21 points in the win. "So we knew we had to start in a different way and take care of business from the tip. And I think we did a good job, especially in the first half."
In short, they cruised.
In the win at Boston, the Pacers blew a 26-point lead but managed to survive as Oladipo scored 35 points. He had 38 in a 112-111 loss at home on Dec. 18.
For the season, Oladipo is putting up MVP-like numbers, averaging 23.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game -- all representing career highs for the fifth-year player.
With Brown out, Oladipo can expect to see a lot of Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, who are pure guards. Brown is more of a forward playing in the backcourt.
The Boston bench has been hot lately and now one of those players has to start.
"We'll look at Shane (Larkin), Smart, Terry, Semi (Ojeleye), (Abdel) Nader, any of those guys could start," Stevens said Saturday. "You're not only worried about the first five minutes of each half. It's important, it's really important, but at the end of the day, we'll weigh starting Smart or Terry or keeping our bench unit together."
Darren Collison, who had been out since Feb. 2 after arthroscopic knee surgery, returned Friday night and came off the bench with 17 points -- going 7 of 10 from the floor.
"To see him play as well as he did, that's great," teammate Myles Turner said. "That's great for everybody's confidence. He knows that we need him and we are grateful to have him back."
Said Collison: "It feels pretty good right now. It didn't have the same pain that I had been feeling at the beginning of this season. It really felt good just to go out there and not worry about pain."