Boston Celtics: 3 keys to beating the Brooklyn Nets in the first round

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (9) Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Celtics key No. 1: Keep the bench involved

We watched the Celtics bench go from being a complete non-factor at the start of the season into one of their most valuable weapons by the end of it. And with a tough matchup against the Nets in front of them, their depth may be the most important difference between these two teams. As a result, Boston absolutely must keep their bench involved throughout the series.

Udoka has frequently run with an eight man rotation this season, meaning the bench could be pretty short this series. Some combination of White, Payton Pritchard, and Grant Williams have been the key pieces of the bench this season, and it will probably stay that way for now. Daniel Theis has been used as a starter in Rob Williams absence, but there’s a chance Grant could get the nod in the starting lineup depending on how Udoka wants to play things.

A big reason Boston has been so good lately is because of their bench. Pritchard and Williams are two of the teams best three point shooters, with Pritchard being very near automatic as of late. White has been pretty bad shooting threes, but he’s finally getting more comfortable in the offense, and he was scoring much more to close the season.

These three guys (including maybe Theis) are crucial to what Boston does. White and Williams are so solid defensively that the Celtics can do pretty much whatever they want when they are on the court. And Pritchard’s offensive skillset makes him the perfect player to benefit from potential double teams on Tatum and Brown.

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The most important thing is that these guys stay involved. We have seen times where Tatum and Brown get too self-involved, and while that’s necessary at times, it’s been almost entirely outrighted during their second half run. The bench has played a big role all season long, and if it doesn’t stay that way now that the playoffs are here, they will be heading home for the offseason before they know it.