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With three bigs unavailable, Celtics not making excuses

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The shorthanded C’s had a host of players step up.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics have played shorthanded on so many occasions in the past with many players in and out of the lineup due to various injuries that they earned the moniker “Hospital Celtics.”

But the Celtics would be hard-pressed to find a situation like they encountered in Friday’s matchup versus the Washington Wizards.

Boston was without three of its big men, as Robert Williams, Grant Williams and Tristan Thompson were all sidelined due to health and safety protocols and will miss at least the next week as they quarantine.

The severely shorthanded Celtics soldiered on, though, not lamenting what they didn’t have and making the best use of what was still in their possession to earn a 116-107 win over the Wizards at the TD Garden to improve to 7-3.

“That’s our job,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens on the team stepping up. “Our job’s not to make excuses for who’s not here. It’s to play as well as we can with who is and let the results take care of themselves.”

With three key rotational players watching from home and leaving a gaping hole in the interior, the Celtics leaned more on Daniel Theis, who played a season-high 29 minutes and produced 10 points, six rebounds and three assists.

The biggest surprise of the night came from the Celtics turning to Tacko Fall. Fall had played only six minutes this season coming into the contest versus the Wizards, but saw his role increase tremendously out of necessity as he put together a four-point, eight-rebound, three-block performance in 19 minutes.

While Fall’s highlights during his brief NBA career have usually centered around fans imploring Stevens to put the massive 7-foot-5 center into the game, Fall grabbed his own buzz-worthy moment with a forceful rejection on a Russell Westbrook drive to the hoop.

“I thought he was too good to take out on some occasions,” Stevens said.

The Celtics now face the daunting task of trying to persevere through the adversity as there will be no break in the schedule for Boston. The C’s play four games over the next six days, but the win over the Wizards showcases that they can still get the job done no matter who is out on the floor.

“There’s been a lot of stuff going on, but it’s always great to come here in the Garden and play some great basketball,” said Jaylen Brown.