The Celtics swept the Nets. Let’s say it one last time. The Celtics swept the Nets. OK, on the next one.
Boston will have at least five days before Game 1 of the second round and could use the break to heal and prepare. At the end of Game 4, Jaylen Brown mentioned having some hamstring issues in the second half. After practice on Wednesday, head coach Ime Udoka simply said, “yeah, he’s good.”
After playing 14 and 16 minutes in Games 3 and 4 respectively, Robert Williams felt “a step behind defensively,” but didn’t suffer any setbacks after surgery repaired his torn meniscus less than a month ago.
“No pain at all. The knee is responding well,” Williams said.
Williams didn’t have his wind back, so he’ll spend this week ramping back up and Udoka expects him to be able to handle his normal minutes and role in the rotation. They’ll need him with whoever is Boston’s next opponent.
Udoka sees Milwaukee and Chicago posing a similar threat defensively. They’re both big and will pack the paint unlike some of the Nets’ perimeter-oriented, three-guard lineups. The veteran Al Horford is ready for the challenge.
“It’s the playoffs. It’s going to be another challenge. Those teams are bigger teams,” Horford said of Boston’s physical play and matching up with the bigger Bucks or Bulls. “There’s no question about it, but that’s how we play. That’s what we do. Defensively, that’s who we are. I’m looking forward to it.”
The Bucks and the Bulls face each other tonight in Game 5 in Milwaukee. Considering the defending champs’ 3-1 lead in the series and Chicago without Alex Caruso (concussion protocol) and Zach LaVine (health and safety protocols), it looks likely that the Celtics will be hosting the Bucks on Sunday for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semis. Boston is preparing for both teams with an obvious lean towards the Bucks, but with a week to prepare, ultimately, the focus is more on what they can do. After Milwaukee sat a large portion of their rotation on the final day of the regular season to duck the Nets in the first round, Boston opted to play it out and eventually secured the #2 seed.
“We’re a basketball team, not a track team,” Udoka said. “We’re not running from people.”