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Marcus Smart, Robert Williams out vs. Pelicans

The Celtics will be missing two starters on MLK Day.

Sacramento Kings v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Per the Celtics, Marcus Smart remains in the league’s health and safety protocols. The starting point guard has missed the last three games after starting January strong, averaging 13.2 points and 4.2 assists and hitting 42.9% from behind the arc. With the NBA’s new COVID measures in place, we could see Smart return as Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets or Friday vs. the Portland Trail Blazers.

The bigger news is the absence of Robert Williams. Boston’s big man came up clutch on Saturday night and hit four big free throws to secure the comeback win against the Chicago Bulls. The team has him listed out for “personal reasons” and earlier today, he posted on Instagram that he and his girlfriend are expecting the birth of their child today:

The Celtics are 4-5 in games without Williams and Boston will rely heavily on their veterans to handle New Orleans’ Jonas Valanciunas. “We got one big down, still got Al (Horford) and Enes (Freedom),” head coach Ime Udoka said pregame. “(Jonas) is a guy they’ve leaned on ... big post presence ... show them a crowd, by committee...he’s a guy we got to account for...we’ll play Enes...(and) smaller for the most part.”