Injuries, trades give Celtics-Hawks whole new look

NBA Basketball

The Boston Celtics didn’t make any moves before Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline, but they still might have a different look to them as they host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

The Celtics, winners of five straight and eight of nine, enter the contest with four of their five starters on the injury report. Forwards Jaylen Brown (right ankle sprain) and Gordon Hayward (sore left foot) have been ruled out for the game, as have centers Daniel Theis (right ankle sprain) and Robert Williams (hip). Point guard Kemba Walker (left knee soreness) and guard Marcus Smart (right quad contusion) are available.

The Hawks, meanwhile, have been among the more active teams in the NBA this week, acquiring centers Clint Capela and Dewayne Dedmon in separate deals and adding forward Skal Labissiere from the Portland Trail Blazers. Atlanta also has a handful of players on its injury report. Guards Trae Young (ankle contusion), Jeff Teague (knee pain) and Kevin Huerter (adductor pain) are all probable, forward De’Andre Hunter (ankle sprain) is questionable and forward Bruno Fernando (calf strain) and guard Cam Reddish (concussion) are doubtful.

All things considered, both teams might fail to recognize each other despite facing off in Atlanta on Monday. Boston won that game 123-115 and will look to finish off a season series sweep Friday.

The Celtics had hoped to make a move prior to Thursday’s deadline but nothing came together. “We’ve been pretty open to making trades over the years, but there’s a time and a place to make deals, and sometimes you just aren’t in those times and places,” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told The Boston Globe. “We didn’t feel like there was anything we needed to do.”

Despite its recent rash of injuries, the team has had much success of late, large in part thanks to the play of Jayson Tatum. The first-time All-Star posted his seventh straight game with at least 20 points when his 33 led the Celtics to a 116-100 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, we have been in this position quite a bit this season,” said Tatum of the injuries. “Naturally, when guys are out, everybody just has to step up and do more on both ends of the floor.”

Rookie Romeo Langford stepped up with his first NBA start Wednesday.

It’s tough to know what to expect for the Hawks, who have blown things up as they sport a 14-38 record. The team is building around Young and John Collins, who have combined to pace Atlanta in scoring in each of its past 12 games.

Young had 38 and Collins 27 in a 127-120 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. The game came in the wake of reports of the Capela trade, a four-team, 12-player deal both the Hawks and Timberwolves were involved in.

“Definitely a crazier night, at least day, when you look at our entire roster and what’s happened in the last 24 hours,” Collins said.

–Field Level Media

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