Danillo Gallinari makes key step towards returning to Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics have stumbled to start the 2023 calendar year. They first fell to the Denver Nuggets on New Year’s Day 123-111, then embarrassed themselves against a skeleton crew Oklahoma City Thunder team, losing 150-117. Boston has certainly cooled off after a blistering 21-5 start to the season. They’ve now lost seven of their last 12 games and can’t seem to put the ball in the basket.

During that stretch, the Celtics have been third-worst in efficiency. They’ve shot just 44.1% from the field and 31.1% from beyond the arc. To put that into perspective, Boston had been shooting 49.3% from the field and 40% from deep over the first 26 games.

Their greatest strength has (temporarily) vanished and it’s clearly hurting them.

Danillo Gallinari makes key step towards returning to Boston Celtics

With the Boston Celtics unable to shoot a rock into the ocean, what better time is there to check in on sharpshooting Italian wing, Danillo Gallinari. Boston signed the 34-year-old to a two-year contract over the summer, hoping to add a scoring punch to their bench. Gallinari tore his left ACL during a FIBA World Cup game in late August, and has been working to get back on the court ever since.

On Wednesday morning, the Italian gave fans a glimpse at how far along he is in his rehab process. He tweeted a video showing himself running for the first time in months.

With the current slump seemingly in full force, the Boston Celtics could certainly use Gallo’s scoring ability off of the bench. Last season he averaged 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 65 games for the Atlanta Hawks.

Gallinari was efficient as well, shooting 43.8% from the floor and 38.1% from 3-point range. His replacement, Sam Hauser, has cooled off after starting the season strong. Over his last 12 games, Hauser is shooting just 28.9% from deep, compared to a reliable 45.5% over his first 26 appearances.