By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com
After running into a monstrous Joel Embiid screen in the opening quarter of Monday’s Game 4, Boston Celtics guard Shane Larkin (shoulder sprain) will out of the Game 5 lineup on Wednesday night.
Early Wednesday morning the Celtics announced that Larkin will not be in the Celtics’ lineup as they try to eliminate the Philadelphia 76ers for the second straight game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
#NEBHInjuryReport: Shane Larkin (shoulder sprain) is “very, very sore,” says Brad Stevens. “He’s out for tonight and the foreseeable future, but imaging suggested that surgery probably won’t be needed.”— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 9, 2018
Following the team’s announcement, head coach Brad Stevens joined 98.5 The Sports Hub‘s ‘Zolak & Bertrand‘ to talk Celtics, playoffs and more.
During their conversation, Stevens admitted that with Larkin out, he will “have to be replaced by committee.”
It’s a tough loss for the C’s on a few different fronts as Stevens went onto explain.
“He brings us tremendous speed. The ability to guard, not only 1’s, but 2’s running off those screens, which obviously with these guys is very difficult. And we’re gonna have to step up and do that,” said Stevens.
We all know Marcus Smart is up for the challenge, who finished Game 4 with 31 minutes of playing time following Larkin’s early departure.
And Terry Rozier III will be right there with him, who also finished Game 4 with a whopping 39 minutes on the floor.
Green Teamers should expect to see a variety of ball-handlers bringing the ball up the floor on Wednesday night. Whether it’s Smart, Rozier, Jayson Tatum and even Al Horford, who takes that responsibility from time to time.
It will be important for the Celts to buckle down on the defensive end, limiting T. J. McConnell and J.J. Redick’s open looks, while sealing up the paint and forcing the 76ers to the outside.
Especially since the Sixers are shooting 41.3 percent from the field for the series and they haven’t shot better than 43.5 percent in any of the four games.
They’re also shooting below 29 percent from three-point land for the series, and they’ve only shot better than 30 percent from deep in one game (Game 2).
Turnovers and fouls have increasingly plagued the Celtics over the course of this series, and it needs to be addressed heading into Game 5, or we’ll be sitting here looking at a Game 6 rather than a Game 1 this weekend.
Through 10 playoff games, Larkin is averaging four points and two assists. Plus a rebound and a steal in 15.2 minutes-per-game off the bench. All while shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from deep.
For more from Hour 3 of ‘Zolak & Bertrand,’ click HERE.
UP NEXT: The #2 Boston Celtics (55-27/3-1) will welcome the #3 Philadelphia 76ers (52-30/1-3) back to the TD Garden on Wednesday night for Game 5 of Eastern Conference Semifinals. Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:30 p.m., with tip-off set for 8:00 p.m.
John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at email@example.com.
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