Boston Coach Brad Stevens said every Boston player practiced Monday ahead of their play-in game against the Wizards at 9 p.m. on Tuesday. The only game-time decision is Robert Williams III, who has been dealing with turf toe in the left foot over the past couple weeks.
That’s a huge boost for the Celtics. Stevens said Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart looked good during practice, and while Tristan Thompson is still dealing with some soreness from the pectoral strain, he’s hopefully good to go. Williams, Walker, Smart and Thompson didn’t make the road trip to end the regular season, instead staying in Boston to heal their bodies. They were four of the seven Celtics out in the loss to Knicks in the season finale.
Evan Fournier and Jayson Tatum played Saturday in the Minnesota win, but rested Sunday on the second game of a back-to-back. The duo should be good to go Tuesday. The lone guaranteed out Tuesday is Jaylen Brown, who is done for the season after wrist surgery.
“The hope is that we will have everybody available,” Stevens said after practice Monday. “We should have definitely more than (Sunday).”
Walker and Smart sat the final few games of the season after last Tuesday’s loss to the Heat, which effectively knocked Boston into the play-in tournament. That’s been a lot of rest for the veterans, and Smart said those extra days count “every last bit of it” as the Celtics have been banged up all season.
Now the Celtics can have a relatively healthy squad going into Tuesday’s game. Stevens said the players seemed engaged during Monday’s practice, preparing for the postseason.
“I’m trying to stay in rhythm as best I can, but the most important thing for me is to feel as good as possible, and I do,” Walker said. “I feel really good right now and am just looking forward to tomorrow, to bring some energy and just enjoy playing against a really good team.”
BRADLEY BEAL told reporters Monday that he “won’t be at 100%” because of his hamstring injury, the same one he suffered about a week ago and played through in Sunday’s winner-take-all game against the Hornets. While Beal said there was no setback in his injury, he looked clearly bothered by the hamstring at points in the game.
But as the Wizards had a crucial game against the Hornets, Beal elected to suit up. He said some members of the medical staff weren’t alright with it, though some were. The result was a 115-110 Wizards win Sunday to secure the No. 8 spot in the East as Beal led the Wizards with 25 points, though it was on 8-for-27 shooting.
Beal said he will need to manage the injury going forward, though it seems he expects to play Tuesday against the Celtics.
Washington is still one of the hottest teams in the league and it’s not lacking in talent. Russell Westbrook has been a wrecking ball this season on his way to droves of triple-doubles and he’s led a resurgent Wizards team that finished 17-6 on the season.
“They beat you in different ways,” Stevens said. “Obviously Russ’s ability to overpower people, his passing, his rebounding. Beal’s just ascension through the game has been amazing to watch with his ability not only to come off screens and shoot, but then pick-and-rolls.”