The result of the final game of the regular season for the Boston Celtics certainly shouldn’t have surprised anyone.
Our C’s already had the seveth seed locked up with no chance of improving their playoff positioning coming into this game. On the other hand, the New York Knicks were playing for the fourth seed and homecourt advantage in the first round.
The Knicks played all of their key players, while Brad Stevens went and sat out Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and Tristian Thompson. This fact probably led many Celtics fans not even tuning into this game, and yours truly turned it on convinced he would end up turning it off at some point in the second half.
However, someone apparently forgot to tell those on Boston who actually played that the game was meaningless. Scarcely used reserves like Tremont Waters and Carsen Edwards played key minutes late in the game, where we saw them nearly pull off a 17 point comeback against one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference on their home floor.
While some would argue that there aren’t many takeaways from a game like this, we at HH went about and pinpointed three things as the C’s head into the play-in tournament, and even into the offseason:
Boston Celtics takeaway No. 1) Tremont Waters can be a legitimate factor
For the better part of his first two years in the association, Tremont Waters has rarely been used, and many wound up losing faith in him ever becoming a contributing factor for the Boston Celtics in the future.
Even worse, the impressive play of rookie guard, Payton Pritchard, has gotten the Hardwood Houdini team so excited — with some going as far as to say he could be the steal of the 2020 NBA Draft — that many of us were just about ready to give up on Waters.
Sunday, however, showed a new glimpse of hope, as the sophomore talent was simply fantastic.
The 23-year-old scored 17 points, dished out five assists, grabbed five rebounds and snatched two steals in 25 minutes of action.
Tremont Waters had a plus-minus rating of +20 for the game. Payton Pritchard, on the other hand, struggled mightily, especially defensively, and only managed to convert on two of his ten attempts from the field and had a team-worst plus-minus rating of -24.
I am by no means saying that Payton Pritchard needs to lose his spot in the rotation to Tremont Waters based on this single game. Having said that, Tremont Waters was fantastic against a playoff contender and could prove to be a better defensive option/ playmaker than Pritchard to roll out in Brad Stevens’ rotation.