After Jayson Tatum’s 51-point night against the Washington Wizards, momentum was certainly on the Boston Celtics’ side entering Tuesday’s tilt vs. the Sacramento Kings. The outcome of that game, however, was one that nobody could have expected. Boston welcomed the Kings to TD Garden and absolutely obliterated them, winning by 53 points. The Celtics have won their last two games by a combined total of 82. The common factor between those two games? A fully healthy squad.
At least, that’s what Celtics wing Josh Richardson asserted after the win over Sacramento, reiterating a point he’s made time and time again.
“I said this earlier in the year multiple times. We have had the most time missed with COVID. We’ve had injuries. And guys just in and out of the lineup the whole first half of the season. I would like to see the stats when our whole team is healthy.”
The Celtics have only played 14 games this season with their regular starting lineup of Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, and Robert Williams. They are 9-5 in those games — nearly a 53-win pace across a full season.
Tatum expanded on this idea, saying that continuing this momentum is “for sure the plan.” But that’s not all Tatum emphasized. He singled out one player in particular as crucial to the success of the Celtics: Robert Williams.
When asked about how important health is to this roster, he specifically gave Williams a shout-out.
“Especially when Rob’s playing. I love when Rob’s playing. Obviously, if myself or JB is out, other guys gotta step up. But, I just love when Rob plays.”
There was a constant grin on Tatum’s face when talking about his teammate, who has played in 37 of the Celtics’ 49 games and is averaging a career-high 29.5 minutes. When asked to expand on what he loves about Williams, Tatum continued to gush about the big man.
“Everything. You drive into traffic and you gotta kick out, you can just throw it to the sky and Rob will catch it. You can pressure the ball a little bit more because you know if you get beat, you know he’s back there to protect you. He’s just a lot more vocal now than in previous years. He’s always active.”
If the C’s can remain healthy (outside of injured recent acquisitions PJ Dozier and Bol Bol), they have a chance to make up ground in the East. Four out of their next six games are against teams that sit well below .500. With only four games separating them from the sixth seed, there’s still plenty of time left to put it all together.