Boston Celtics rookie describes how he felt during first non-garbage time minutes

Feb 14, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Oshae Brissett (12) and guard
Feb 14, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Oshae Brissett (12) and guard / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics rookie Jordan Walsh got his first taste of non-garbage time minutes on February 14 against the Brooklyn Nets at the TD Garden; checking in during the first quarter of an eventual 50-point win (the C's lead was 30 when he checked in) and staying on the floor for 18 minutes total. He came down with five rebounds, a steal, and a block and was a +8 in box score plus-minus.

After the game, Walsh shared with CelticsBlog's Bobby Manning how he felt about his first true taste of significant NBA playing time.

“They were already up 30 in the first, so obviously that took some of the load off, but it’s definitely a different feeling,” Walsh said. “The physicality … is on another level. It could just be small, sneaky stuff that refs don’t see, that maybe you all don’t see and maybe we don’t see, but you’ll feel it. Somebody will do it to you and you’ll feel it and definitely know that it happened. It’s just small stuff like that. The defense does whatever it can to get you out of your rhythm. I try to do it myself sometimes. It happened tonight a lot when I was on the court. Obviously, you’ve gotta be tough through everything, the physicality of it, the pace and then just the speed of which things go from fast-to-slow.”

Jordan Walsh received Boston Celtics playing time due to Jaylen Brown's absence

Walsh getting first-quarter minutes was a direct result of Jaylen Brown's absence due to a nagging shoulder injury that isn't serious and won't keep him out of the NBA's Slam Dunk competition during All-Star weekend on February 17.

Brown is the first All-Star participant in the dunk contest since Victor Oladipo in 2018. He figures to include one or more teammates in his display.

Joe Mazzulla is likely glad he got to give Walsh real minutes, but the working plan won't include No. 27 come playoff time. There may be nights where a even Sam Hauser finds it hard to reach the floor when the rotations shrink.