UPDATE: March 4, 5:36 p.m. — Tatum is confirmed in the lineup vs. the Cavaliers. With Tatum in, I think the Celtics have enough to pick up a win and cover the spread in this game. Tatum is also a good DFS option with all the injuries to key players.
Jayson Tatum will play v Cavs tonight. Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker not on trip. Stevens expects 7 days out minimum for Brown's hamstring.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) March 4, 2020
UPDATE: March 4, 1:03 p.m. — Not only is Walker out vs. the Cavaliers, but Hayward and Jaylen Brown (hamstring) are also going to be sidelined. Both of them got hurt in Tuesday night’s loss to the Nets.
Luckily Jayson Tatum is now probable to return, so Boston will have its best player available in Cleveland. At $9,900, I love Tatum in DFS on DraftKings. Javonte Green ($3,300) is probable to play with an ankle injury and I wrote him up as a solid value play below.
Despite the three big injuries, I think Tatum and Marcus Smart can carry the Celtics to a road win over a poor Cavaliers team that is also dealing with injuries. Boston is favored by 2.5 points right now, so I think there’s value there. We can also get in on the live lines depending on how the Celtics and Tatum look.
UPDATE: March 3, 11:06 p.m. — Walker has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. He returned to the lineup in Tuesday’s 129-120 loss to the Nets.
Walker scored 21 points in 23 minutes, but was pretty inefficient despite scoring at the clip. He went 6-16 from the floor and 4-12 from 3-point range. Overall, the Celtics struggled a bit without Jayson Tatum, shooting 42.7% from the field as a team. They also let Caris LeVert drop 51 points on them.
We’ll see if Tatum can get back into the lineup, but with Walker out Wednesday, Marcus Smart should remain in the starting back court with Jaylen Brown. Gordon Hayward was also injured in Tuesday’s game and his status is up in the air.
UPDATE March 3, 5:54 p.m. — Walker will play around 20-25 minutes vs. the Nets, coach Brad Stevens confirmed to reporters before the game. Tatum has been ruled out. Smart was said to be available to play earlier in the day and nothing has changed.
This is a tough game to gauge from a betting perspective. The Celtics are still favored by 5.0 points at home and even with no Tatum and the Kemba restriction, I think they should win. I do think the game may be close, so I’d lean more towards Celtics ML than the spread.
For DFS plays, Jaylen Brown ($7,100) is really cheap and has an even higher ceiling. The Nets play tough defense, but Brown should get more usage considering Kemba is coming back from injury and isn’t expected to play a ton. Gordon Hayward ($7,400) is the GPP play, though. He could see low ownership and is another candidate for more shots with Tatum out.
UPDATE: March 3, 11:47 a.m. — So Kemba Walker is good to go but will be on a minutes limit vs. the Nets. Jayson Tatum is unlikely to play, so we’ll say he’s doubtful. This sort of sucks because we had him on a 22nd birthday narrative, which is out the window now. Marcus Smart will play through the illness.
Marcus Smart will play tonight for the Celtics after missing practice yesterday with an illness. Jayson Tatum is likely out with one. Kemba Walker feels good after practicing yesterday and will play with a minutes limit.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) March 3, 2020
UPDATE: March 2, 4:42 p.m. — Walker is listed as probable. Tatum and Smart are considered questionable to play vs. the Nets on Tuesday. This is sort of in line with what we figured would happen for Tatum and Smart. Walker is expected to be back but wouldn’t be in line for a full allotment of minutes.
Kemba Walker is listed as probable for tomorrow. Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart are considered questionable.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 2, 2020
The Boston Celtics got some good news and some bad news on Monday afternoon. PG Kemba Walker is on track to return to the lineup against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday if he feels good, per coach Brad Stevens. Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart both missed practice on Monday due to illness and their status for the game vs. the Nets is up in the air.