Pregame Post-Ups: It's Tacko Time Inside the Bubble
Tuesday, July 28 - Celtics at Rockets
Pregame – As Top Players Rest, It's Tacko Time Inside the Bubble
BOSTON – It’s Tacko Time inside the NBA bubble.
The ever-popular Tacko Fall, along with the high majority of Boston’s reserves, will see extended playing time tonight when the Celtics wrap up their scrimmage schedule against the Houston Rockets.
Brad Stevens announced prior to the game that Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter will all rest against Houston.
Their absences – particularly those of Theis and Kanter – open the door for Fall to see his first scrimmage action in Orlando.
“I don’t know Kinsley has watched any games yet,” Stevens said of his daughter, who loves Fall. “She’ll be watching tonight, because she knows Tacko is going to play.”
While Fall has appeared in only six games this season for the Celtics, he had made great strides as a player. The development program in place with Boston’s G League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, is renowned, and it has spurred Fall’s growth on the court over the past year.
“To look at where he is right now versus last summer…” said Stevens, “very encouraging.”
The coach revealed that Boston has been using Fall as an elite defensive presence in the middle of the zone that has been defending the starting unit. In the sport of football, teams will oftentimes place a specific player on its scout team to simulate an offensive star it will face as an opponent that week. That is ostensibly what the Celtics are doing with Fall, to simulate one of the league’s top defensive big men.
“A lot of teams put a big shot-blocker in the middle of their zone,” said Stevens, “and so we’ve had him almost like a scout team playing the middle of the zone and it’s been great for all of us and our preparation over the last couple of weeks.”
Fall has been an important part of the team’s practices, but he has yet to appear in a scrimmage game. That will change tonight thanks to Stevens giving Boston’s top players the night off.
Speaking of which, this decision came as no surprise to the team. Stevens revealed that this has been the plan all along, and that the plan went into action at Monday’s practice session.
“Today, we told those guys that aren’t playing, ‘Get off your feet,’” the coach stated. “They didn’t do anything at shootaround; if they did anything, they stretched. I think a couple of them might shoot before the game, just for 10 minutes. But this is their off day.
“Yesterday was the guys who are playing today’s off day. So we scheduled it as such so that everybody got one day off their feet but didn’t have a day where they just didn’t have anything to do.”
With such a plan in place, it’s time for a role-reversal for the Celtics. It’s now the reserves, including Fall, who will receive extended playing time, while the top players will be asked to cheer their teammates on from the bench.
- Marc D'Amico