Celtics assistant coaches Jay Larranaga and Jerome Allen weren’t with the team for its 124-97 win over the Magic on Friday due to the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (via Twitter).
Matt Vautour of MassLive.com notes that both coaches prepped the team for the contest remotely. “Those guys were still adding as much value as possible while they’re out,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “Those guys were on Zoom calls with us all the time, on Zoom calls with their individuals.”
There’s more out of the NBA’s Atlantic Division:
- Raptors big man Chris Boucher has enjoyed a much-needed breakout season for Toronto, and he could get even better defensively, per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. The versatile 6’9″ forward has played a lot of small ball center, but still needs to prepare to defend perimeter players, according to head coach Nick Nurse. “Got to get him used to all this switching because he’s going to be out there guarding primary ballhandlers a lot because they’re going to go set with their five-man a lot and if we’re switching it, he’ll end up guarding those guys,” Nurse said of Boucher. “And I think he’s got the speed and quickness and length to do it.” In 12 games for the Raptors, Boucher is averaging a career-best 15.7 PPG on 59.6% shooting from the field and 47.7% shooting from long range, to go along with 6.8 RPG and 2.5 BPG.
- Despite Immanuel Quickley‘s strong recent play (including a solid 17-point, 8-assist performance in a blowout 105-75 win against the Celtics today), the Knicks are not yet ready to name the rookie point guard their starter over veteran Elfrid Payton, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. “We’re still evaluating,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “So we’ll keep evaluating, we’ll keep working to improve and then we’ll find the best combinations to go forward with. But we’re constantly evaluating and talking about who plays well with whom. And if something can help the team, we’ll do it.’’
- Derek Bodner of The Athletic analyzes the offensive woes of Sixers point guard Ben Simmons thus far in the 2020/21 season. Simmons has limited most of his shooting output to the paint this year, and frequently prioritizes passing over looking for his own shot.