The Celtics have two legit tests in the next few days as they’ll play at Minnesota (38-28) Thursday night and will host Indiana (37-27) Sunday night.
Kyrie Irving will likely miss at least the nationally televised Thursday night affair as he is still nursing a knee injury. The injury is not considered to be severe in the least bit, but the Celtics and Irving are taking extra precautions.
“It’s been about two years coming off knee surgery, so you just have to do things like that and just stay on top of it and make sure that you’re doing the right thing,” Irving said. “Sometimes it may be a little bit extra, just from the demand you put on your body and then also the realization of how much basketball you’ve actually been playing for the last few years and the level in which you demand your body play at … I think that’s the luxury of being in the regular season and having times where you can kind of put yourself first and just take care of yourself, and then go from there.”
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The Celtics were more than fine Monday night without Irving as they blasted the Bulls, 105-89, in Chicago. The Bulls were actually given a warning by the NBA for resting healthy players against the Celtics as the league looks to crack down on “tanking.” So, truth be told – the C’s blowout win over the Bulls without Irving wasn’t THAT impressive.
The C’s will face a much stiffer test Thursday in the T’Wolves. Minnesota has gone just 4-6 over the past month and its only wins have come over the dregs of the league (Sacramento, the Lakers, Chicago). They’ve dearly missed Jimmy Butler, who suffered a meniscal injury to his right knee in late February. Still, the T’Wolves are a dangerous group – led by big man Karl-Anthony Towns, who is averaging 20.4 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. Swingman Andrew Wiggins has also come into his own this season as he’s averaging 17.9 points per game.
The Pacers, the surprise team in the NBA this season, could also be a handful for the C’s on Sunday night. Victor Oladipo has been sensational for Indiana this season, leading the team with a 24.0 points per game average. Second-year big man Domantas Sabonis has also been a force as he’s averaging a team-high 8.1 boards per game.