Before Friday night’s game against Golden State, the Celtics lost five players after they were placed on the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.
Boston also missed Dennis Schroder for a non-Covid illness.
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In the 24 hours leading up to the game, five players – forwards Jabari Parker, Juancho Hernangomez, Grant Williams and Sam Hauser, and center Al Horford – all entered protocols, leaving head coach Ime Udoka with a severely depleted lineup for face the team. Red hot warriors.
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“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating. It’s something everyone’s playing at,” Udoka said before the game. “You’ve seen Chicago, Brooklyn, and other teams hit with that.
“It’s something we’ve been trying to avoid, but it seems inevitable at times for everyone. You have to play with the lineups sometimes, but we have other guys who can, and we’ll increase those minutes. Nothing else you can do. We have 11 healthy bodies.” .
Udoka had to ride their headlines for long stretches: Everyone but Romeo Langford, who left the game with a neck injury, played 33 minutes or more, led by Jayson Tatum’s 42 minutes. Tatum had a team-high 27 points, along with eight rebounds and six assists.
Despite being short-staffed, Boston managed to rally 20 points short at the end of the second quarter to take an 84-82 lead early in the quarter.
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Golden State continued to pull away, led by the way by Andre Iguodala and Damion Lee, for the 111-107 victory. The Celtics could have won the game if it weren’t for the eight missed free throws in the second half.
After the game, Udoka said of Boston’s comeback attempt when he missed six players: “I loved the fight and the overall effort.”
Coach Udoka: “I loved the fight and the effort in general. With few or no people, we have capable guys and we felt like we defended at the right level in the second half.”
– Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 18, 2023
Boston falls to 14-15 on the season, with games against the Knicks, 76ers and Cavaliers to close out their position at home before Christmas.