11 Celtics played against the Wizards, as Brad Stevens sat out the five starters and Marcus Smart. We’re going to give some shine to each of those 11 Boston players in this version of the Takeaways, since it may be the last time we see some of them play this season.
1. Enes Kanter started and pretty much got whatever he wanted against Washington’s porous interior defense. However, the play that stood out from him wasn’t a score, but was this read out of the post. Kanter draws the defense and finds Javonte Green in the opposite corner for the three-pointer:
2. Speaking of Javonte Green, he had a career-high 23 points. Green is one of the best stories on this year’s Celtics, as he played four seasons overseas in Spain, Italy and Germany before getting a Summer League shot with Boston. Green made the most of it and got a training camp invite. Once there, Green continued to show up and proved he deserved a roster spot.
Brad Stevens lauded Green postgame for his work ethic and always being prepared. Green’s always been an NBA-level athlete. That’s not in question. It’s plays like this, where Green dribbles into a transition triple, that will keep him in the NBA:
3. Tremont Waters got the start at point guard and had an interesting afternoon. He shot the ball poorly, but as any good lead guard does, Waters showed up in other ways. He had four assists and an impressive five steals. On this play, Waters shows just how pesky he is. Waters knows Ish Smith isn’t a threat for the pull-up three, and reads him making the pass to the rolling Moritz Wagner. Waters jumps in the passing lane for the pick:
4. It’s been an up-and-down rookie season for Grant Williams. He’s shown all sorts of aptitude for the game, but has some physical limitations. He’s not big enough to be a five, nor quick enough to defend on the wing. That’s made him a screener and standstill player. Seeing him make a hard roll to the basket for a lefty finish like this is encouraging, as Williams can be more than a spot-up shooter:
5. Carsen Edwards hasn’t had an up-and-down rookie season. It’s just been down. But Edwards still has potential to be a microwave scorer off the bench. The jumper may come and go, but if Edwards can make hard drives to the rim like this, he’ll eventually find minutes:
6. When Robert Williams got in for just a cameo appearance, it became clear he’s part of Stevens postseason rotation. But Williams still showed up with good stuff. The best of the bunch? This 13-foot jumper. Williams turns, faces and shoots confidently and in rhythm. More than highlight blocks and alley-oop slams, these shots are what should make your heart flutter:
7. At some point in the playoffs, Semi Ojeleye is going to be called upon to give Boston minutes. You know he’ll show up defensively. It’s the other end of the floor where you worry. This sort of play shows Ojeleye can be more than a 3&D forward. In college, Ojeleye was a dynamic scorer off the dribble. He’s shown flashes of this type of play in the NBA, but we’d love to see it more consistently:
8. Brad Stevens often says he worries more about the guys who don’t play than the ones who do. It’s not easy to show up each day ready to work, when you know you’ll be inactive for most games. Vincent Poirier is a guy who does just that however.
Depending on how the roster develops, Poirier could be a guy in line for more playing time next season. How he’ll get there is by defensive plays like this one. Poirier cuts off Troy Brown Jr on the cut. When Brown spins back, Poirier gives him no daylight:
9. Ish Smith is a crafty, veteran guard who has given Boston a lot of trouble over the years. This up-and-under in the lane is a play he’s scored on against the Celtics with regularity. But when you have a 7’5’’ deterrent at the rim, it’s not quite as easy:
Right now, Tacko Fall is a fun project. He’s improved more than any Celtics player from the start of the season to now. Fall still has a long way to go, but he’s such a unique player that it’s worth putting in the time. Boston would love to have Fall back on another Two-Way contract to keep developing him next season.
10. Brad Wanamaker is good. He’s not great, nor is he flashy. He’s also not a young prospect like Tremont Waters. But Wanamaker is going to help Boston win playoff games. None of the rookies can say that. Drives like this, where Wanamaker uses his strong upper body to finish through contact, are plays he makes on a regular basis. This is a playoff-type of score:
11. It was disappointing to see Romeo Langford get hurt yet again early in the fourth quarter and leave the game. Mostly, it was because Langford was getting extended playing time and showing some good stuff. This drive, where Langford keeps the bigger defender on his hip and finishes at the rim is the type of play that he needs to make:
Next time the Celtics play, it’s for real. Boston opens the playoffs with the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, August 17 at 6:30 PM ET. CelticsBlog will be here before, during and after with all the coverage you need as Boston chases Banner 18.