Playoffs 2019 East First Round: Celtics (4) vs. Pacers (5)
Celtics' Horford (illness) available for Game 2
From NBA Twitter and media reports
* Tonight on TNT: Game 2, Pacers vs. Celtics
The Boston Celtics likely won’t have to worry about building on their 1-0 first-round series lead without one of their top players.
Center Al Horford has been upgraded to available for tonight’s game, the Celtics announced about an hour before tipoff.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 17, 2019
In Boston’s Game 1 win against the Indiana Pacers, Horford finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes.
Horford has been key in Boston’s recent playoff runs, starting and playing in 37 playoff games over the last two postseasons.
If Horford were to miss Game 2, centers Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis would likely see an uptick in minutes. In addition, the Celtics could potentially move reserve forwards Marcus Morris or Gordon Hayward into a starting role. Baynes started in Game 1 in what was a new-look starting crew for Boston that also included Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and Horford.
During the season, the Celtics used 23 different starting lineups, with its most popular lineup consisting of Tatum, Morris, Horford, Irving and (now injured guard) Marcus Smart. That group started 33 games together, but coach Brad Stevens said Tuesday he went with a new starting lineup out of necessity and by choice.
“For us, it wasn’t as much about starting big … as it was really re-establishing a defensive identity with our team with Baynes in the game,” Stevens explained after Tuesday’s practice session, per Celtics.com.
A potential absence by Horford tonight would likely mean another starting lineup switch for the Celtics.