The Celtics were expecting to use Evan Fournier in a sixth-man role for the playoffs, but an injury to Jaylen Brown changed those plans, writes Souichi Terada of MassLive. With Brown unavailable after having surgery for a torn wrist ligament, Fournier will be part of the starting lineup in the first-round series against the Nets.
Acquired from the Magic at the trade deadline, Fournier has been productive since returning from the league’s health and safety protocols. In 16 games with the Celtics, he is averaging 13.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per night and shooting a sizzling 46.3% from three-point range. Fournier’s time in Orlando gave him some experience in approaching the playoffs as a low-seeded team.
“There’s no secret,” he said. “Being the lowest seed playing against the No. 1 or second seed, you just have to compete against them. When you play the best teams in the NBA, you have to compete. You have to show them that everything they’re going to get is hard.”
There’s more on the Celtics:
- Center Robert Williams is available to play tonight, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Williams had to leave Tuesday’s play-in game against the Wizards because of turf toe and sat out Friday’s practice.
- Due to Williams’ unpredictable status, the Celtics will have to rely more heavily on veteran big man Tristan Thompson, notes Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Boston signed Thompson as a free agent during the offseason to add a veteran with plenty of playoff experience to its front court. “I think that his role probably looms large regardless,” coach Brad Stevens said.
- The matchup with the Nets will give Boston fans plenty of opportunity to vent their anger at Kyrie Irving, the former Celtic who told season ticket holders in 2018 that he was planning to re-sign with the team, Murphy adds in a separate story. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge believes Irving was sincere at the time and speculated that changing circumstances prompted him to reconsider his pledge. “No grudges, no second-guessing,” Ainge said. “I just wish him well. He was a player that came through this organization. I appreciate how talented he was, how much he wanted to win, and I’m grateful for the experience to get to know him.”
- The Celtics plan to increase their crowd size for Game 3 of the playoff series and hope to be “near full” capacity for Game 4, tweets Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.