Atlantic Notes: Tatum, J. Green, Simmons, Hill, Raptors

The Celtics and Nets each had a player leave Tuesday’s game early due to an injury, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN details.

The Celtics’ loss was more significant, as star forward Jayson Tatum exited in the third quarter after being inadvertently poked in the eye by Nets forward Kevin Durant. Tatum, who headed to the locker room following the injury, eventually returned to the bench, but he was unable to play any more and his status going forward is uncertain.

“He went back out on the court (and) tried to readjust to the light out there, and he was really struggling,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said, per Bontemps. “He got scratched pretty good. It looks pretty red, it looks pretty swollen to me. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what the exact diagnosis is. But he’s uncomfortable right now.”

Meanwhile, Nets forward Jeff Green left in the second quarter due to a bruised left foot. The veteran has been a reliable role player for Brooklyn this season, averaging 27 minutes per game in 68 regular season contests and matching that minute total in Game 1. However, the Nets – already up 2-0 in the series – are far better positioned to handle any missed time for Green than the Celtics are for Tatum.

Here are a few more items from around the Atlantic:

  • After Ben Simmons scored just six points on 3-of-9 shooting in Game 1, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said he doesn’t understand criticism of the standout guard, who contributed 15 assists and 15 rebounds in the team’s victory. “Only in Philadelphia,” Rivers said, per Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press. “If you guys don’t know the treasure you have by now, then shame on everyone because he’s been fantastic for us. … I’m amazed that people don’t see what he does. We’re so caught up in the amount of points he scored. … Does it matter if Ben had all 125? Would we be mad that Joel (Embiid) didn’t score? Who cares who scores as long as we’re scoring. … When Ben plays, we score more points.”
  • It took a while for George Hill to get healthy and make his Sixers debut after he was acquired at the trade deadline, but the veteran guard will be relied upon more heavily now that the postseason is underway, writes Tom Moore of The Bucks County Courier Times.
  • The Raptors‘ own first-round pick is in the lottery for the first time since 2012, prompting Blake Murphy of The Athletic to explore whether the team should consider trading its first-rounder. Murphy also looks at trade possibilities for Toronto’s two second-round selections.
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