Pregame Post-Ups: C’s Set to Face Revamped Suns Rotation
Wednesday, Dec. 19 - Suns at Celtics
Pregame – C’s Set to Face Revamped Suns Rotation
BOSTON – Last Wednesday, Kelly Oubre suited up for the Washington Wizards and dropped 20 points on the Boston Celtics in a 130-125 overtime loss at Capital One Arena. This Wednesday, the 23-year-old forward will dress for the Phoenix Suns and attempt to have a similar impact against the C’s, while aiming for a different result inside TD Garden.
Phoenix acquired Oubre and point guard Austin Rivers Monday in a deal that sent veteran forward Trevor Ariza to the Wizards. Rivers was immediately bought out, leaving Oubre to make his Suns debut alone.
Oubre’s arrival comes at just the right time, as the Suns are in the midst of their first three-game winning streak since the 2016-17 season. His presence should only help their development even more, believes Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
“I think adding him to a youthful group should make them even better,” Stevens said ahead of Wednesday night’s tip-off. “He’s a good player, he’s athletic, he can play multiple positions, he plays it with good energy, he plays the right way, so he’s a good addition to their team.”
Oubre was a key part of the Wizards’ rotation this season, as he averaged 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game prior to the trade. Suns coach Igor Kokoskov is hoping Oubre will have just as big of an impact in Phoenix, though he also understands it could take some time for the young forward to grow comfortable with his new teammates.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, where he’s got to step on the floor and score 35 points for us,” Kokoskov said in anticipation of Oubre’s debut. “If that happens, great, but let’s start with the little things, which is defense, following the game plan, feeling comfortable with your teammates and letting the game come to you.”
Regardless of how much he plays Wednesday night, Oubre’s knowledge of the Celtics, alone, should be of great value to his peers. He has played against the C’s more than any other team in his career (20 regular season and playoff matchups), so his understanding of Boston’s tendencies is far greater than that of his teammates.
Gaining all of that, in addition to being in the midst of their hottest stretch in years, should have the Suns feeling confident Wednesday night when they test out their new-look rotation in Boston.
- Taylor Snow