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Celtics go half-rest, half push against Bucks – Tatum and Horford out, Smart probable, and Brown in

The Celtics are shooting for the best of both worlds here.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been made about the Boston Celtics’ decision to either make a push for homecourt in the second round of the playoffs with a win against the Milwaukee Bucks tonight vs. resting players on a back-to-back the week before the playoffs and letting things fall where they do. Turns out, the Celtics will be doing both.

Al Horford did not sound like a player who was going to play tonight given his responses to questions after last night’s win against the Chicago Bulls. Jaylen Brown is the only player who played more than 30 minutes last night, but he’s also the only starter not listed on the injury report. It appears that he’s fired up and ready to go.

Marcus Smart, who has experience leading the team when regulars are sitting out, is probably with a right ankle sprain that appears to have been bothering him for a few games now. The Milwaukee Bucks seem to be going full tilt with their players, so even with Jaylen Brown in the lineup, we still might need 25 points from Smart just like he did against Toronto (hopefully with a win this time).

Finally, beyond the expected absence of Robert Williams, Jayson Tatum will sit out with the knee soreness that’s been bothering him since the Minnesota Timberwolves win. It always seems like Brown gets up for Milwaukee games more than usual, so Boston is likely hoping that just one Jay will be enough to get the job done tonight.

The Boston Celtics take on the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. EST tonight on TNT. The winner of this game will likely end up the No. 2 seed unless Philadelphia wins out to make things more interesting entering Sunday’s games. If Boston can pull out a win tonight, the No. 1 seed is still barely in play, and they’d have a big lead for the No. 1 seed and an Atlantic Division title.

Lots at stake tonight!

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