Rob Williams doubtful Friday night, while Al Horford may play in his first back-to-back of season
BOSTON -- Al Horford has yet to play in both legs of any back-to-backs this season. But that may change for the Celtics veteran on Friday night.
Horford may play on back-to-back nights for the first time this season Friday when the Celtics host the Utah Jazz at TD Garden. The 36-year-old is listed as questionable on Boston's injury with low back stiffness, one night after helping the C's defense lock down Giannis Antetokounmpo in a blowout win in Milwaukee. (And really, are there any 36-year-old folks out there that don't experience low back stiffness come Friday night?)
Considering the Celtics led by as much as 49 points on Thursday night, Horford only played 22 minutes in the 140-99 victory. He made the most of those minutes, scoring 14 points in addition to stymieing Antetokounmpo on the defensive end.
He got some help from center Robert Williams on the defensive front, but Horford likely won't have that luxury Friday night. Williams is listed as doubtful for Boston due to left knee injury management. As cautious as the Celtics have been with Horford this season, they've been even more cautious with Williams.
The energetic C's big man looked like his old self Thursday night, finishing with seven points, seven rebounds, and four blocks for Boston over 19 minutes. But with the playoffs just around the corner, the Celtics aren't going to take any chances with their game-changing center.
Jayson Tatum (left hip contusion) and Jaylen Brown (low back pain) are also listed as questionable on Friday night, after combining for 70 points Thursday night in Milwaukee. Point guard Payton Pritchard is also questionable with left heel pain.
It will be interesting to see how head coach Joe Mazzulla handles this one. Thursday night's win should lock Boston into the No. 2 seed in the East with five games left, but players spoke about not taking their foot off the gas to close out the regular season. And considering the Celtics blew a second-half lead and lost to the Jazz in Utah two weeks ago, they may want to exact some revenge Friday night.
Thursday's decimation of the Bucks followed Boston's most embarrassing loss of the season Tuesday night, when the C's lost to the Wizards, 130-111. So they may want to keep the good mojo going for one more night.
Or, based on the injury report, Mazzulla may opt to go with a skeleton crew against Utah. After Friday, the Celtics don't play again until next Tuesday when they pay a visit to the 76ers.
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