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Celtics Notebook: Young Guys Get C’s Back on Track

Photo Credit: Boston Globe

The Celtics responded to a rough 0-2 start by winning back-to-back against the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks.

The Celtics went down to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Friday, Oct. 20 to take on the 76ers and came away with a 102-92 victory. Kyrie Irving lead the way with 21 points, while Al Horford had 17 points and 9 rebounds in a strong team rebounding game that saw Baynes, Tatum and Brown each have 8 apiece. Terry Rozier added 14 off the bench for the Celtics, and J.J. Redick poured in 19 points for the 76ers on 4-7 from the 3-point line, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

The C’s came back to Boston on Tuesday, Oct. 24 to take on the New York Knicks, and dominated the first half on their way to a 110-89 win. In a great showing for the younger players, Jaylen Brown (23 points), Jayson Tatum (22 points) and Irving (20 points) combined for 65 of the team’s scoring. Horford had a fantastic night on the glass with 13 rebounds. Despite the lackluster night for the Knicks, Enes Kanter had a big game with 16 points and 19 rebounds.

Young Stars in Brown and Tatum Stealing Spotlight

Tatum, a rookie, and Brown, a second-year player have been playing pivotal roles for the C’s thus far, both averaging double-digit point totals and contributing heavily on the defensive end.  Both players appear to be developing in the wake of Gordon Hayward’s injury, having to fill a hole on this team. Brown is averaging 18.8 points per game, while Tatum is contributing 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds.

In the last game against the Knicks, the duo combined for 45 points in a 21-point victory, and Coach Brad Stevens spoke about the performance after the game.

“We’re in a situation right now where we’re going to expect a lot out of those guys,” he said. “We need them to be great.”

With gained confidence and expanding roles, it will be interesting to see how these young players handle this on a night-in night-out basis.

Jabari Bird called up

After Hayward suffered that horrific injury during the season opening game against the Cavaliers, the Celtics turned to Jabari Bird to join the squad from the G League affiliate, the Maine Red Crabs. Bird arrived in Boston at 7:30 on the morning of Oct 19, and suited up but did not play in the game that night against the Milwaukee Bucks.  In the next game, though, Bird came into the game against the 76ers as a spark off the bench, tallying three points and a rebound in a high-energy 14 minutes of play according to ESPN.  

Coach Stevens spoke with reporters after the game, and not only spoke highly of the performance but of Bird as a player thus far in his short career.

“So all the way through preseason and training camp, I felt like [Bird] was one of our better perimeter defenders,” he said. “I think he’s got a huge upside. His rebounding spoke for itself in the preseason practices and his ability to guard on the ball, especially shooters cutting off screens. Just really good. He’s not afraid and you knew he would step up.”

Next 7 days at a glance

Thursday, Oct. 26, at 8 pm @ Milwaukee Bucks

Saturday, Oct. 28, at 8 p.m. @ Miami Heat

Monday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. vs. San Antonio Spurs

Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m. vs. Sacramento Kings

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