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Halftime hot takes: some pep in the Celtics’ step

Offense looks active, Celtics up five without Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Give me the speech, Marcus Smart

Whatever was said during the team meeting worked, because the energy from the Orlando game and this game has been significantly improved. At points during the losing streak the team looked sluggish and stagnant, but the last six quarters have been a different story.

Aaron Nesmith dove on the floor for a ball and Smart almost flew over the scorer’s table for a rebound. There was some real Captain America in Marcus during that team meeting, I’m sure of it. When he’s hitting parking lot threes like in the first half, you know it’s a rough night for the opponent.

With this energy, a (hopefully not sick) Jayson Tatum and a rested Kemba Walker, a win in Milwaukee could complete the new Avengers arc. Of course, they still could easily fall off in the second, but I think the energy is here to stay.

Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Desmond and Dillon are going for glory

Desmond Bane came off the bench firing in the first half with 10 points, and it can only be explained by a revenge game against Danny Ainge.

Bane was feeling it early on, hitting four of five shots including 2-2 on 3-pointers. He helped Memphis chip away at the early seven-point Celtics lead.

He will be on the current “draft picks we wish we could have kept” list with Matisse Thybulle.

Dillon Brooks also was great offensively getting to the basket in the first half, leading the Grizzlies in scoring with 12 points. His Oregon Ducks winning earlier today must have given him a little extra energy. Brooks in March is a dangerous, dangerous man.

Boston Celtics v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

No Theis on the table

Daniel Theis has been good enough recently for me to consider him safe during deadline season. Not untouchable, of course, but safe. Wiping out on the floor tonight aside, Theis looked great on the court. He began the game with a nice shot at the free throw line, and hit two threes in the first half as well.

It’s clear Theis is a player the Celtics would be smart to keep, especially considering they’ll have Bird Rights to compete with teams with more cap room, of which there will be a few. The team just looks better with him on the court, and he will be a valuable asset to what could be a contender with a few tweaks.