Marcus Smart to play vs. Bucks; Daniel Theis to get 1st NBA start


MILWAUKEE – The Boston Celtics got some good news on the injury front with Marcus Smart deemed fit enough to suit up and play tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks. 

“I’m going to give it a shot, but we’re still going to take things slow,” said Smart, who added that he will be on a minutes restriction tonight.

Smart, who will come off the bench, said he’ll likely play four to five minutes per quarter. 

He has missed the last two games for the Celtics after suffering a left ankle sprain injury in Boston’s 108-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks last week, the same ankle that sidelined him for an extended period of time during his rookie season which Smart says because of that, takes longer to heal when aggravated. 

His absence has forced the Celtics to reshuffle their lineup.

Against the Bucks, head coach Brad Stevens said he would start rookie Daniel Theis at power forward, with Al Horford at center, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum playing the two wing positions while Kyrie Irving remains at the point. 

The decision to start Theis was because of matchups, Stevens said. 

Specifically, Celtics center Aron Baynes will come off the bench to better match up against Milwaukee big man Greg Monroe. 

In addition, the 6-foot-9 Theis provides another player the Celtics can throw at defensively to start the game against Giannis Antetokounmpo who comes into tonight’s game averaging a league-best 36.8 points per game. 

Smart has appeared in two games this season, averaging 12.0 points, 3.5 assists and 8.0 rebounds in 33.7 minutes per game. However, he has once again struggled to make shots, connecting on just 31.0 percent of his shots which includes making just 27.3 percent of his 3’s. 

Theis, making his first NBA start tonight, has averaged 5.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 12 minutes per game. 

When these two met last week, Theis had six points and two rebounds in just five minutes of court time.

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