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We all know that the playoffs are different animal from the regular season. The competition is more intense, a team's weaknesses are exposed and rotations get shortened from 12-15 players involved in a given game to 8-10 in the post-season. Playoffs are for veterans and proven youngsters.

Two veterans, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, are out of consideration, with Gordon having the slightest of chances of returning very late in the post-season. One proven rookie, Daniel Theis, is also out of action. All three are listed on the 15-man playoff roster because Boston simply didn't have enough healthy bodies to fill it.

The healthy veterans include Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Greg Monroe, Marcus Morris and Shane Larkin. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier are the proven youngsters the Celtics are counting on to confidently hit the parquet today and show they belong in the post-season.

Semi Ojeleye is a rookie who has proven himself in the regular season but is unproven in playoff competition. His in-your-shirt defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo will earn him significant minutes against the Bucks. Guerschon Yabusele is a rookie that will likely see very limited court time.

Our readers have repeatedly broached the question of two-way player, Jabari Bird, not being signed by Boston for eligibility to participate in the playoff run. One of the reasons is that he still is an unproven youngster and probably would have seen limited minutes in the playoffs. Abdel Nader and Jonathan Gibson will also remain out of the rotation for the most part, although Gibson may see some action until the return of injured veteran, Marcus Smart.

In a nutshell, Boston has 12 healthy players, with nine that will constitute the main line-up. That healthy number (12) will remain the same when Smart returns and Gibson departs. The difference will be that the solid rotation will go from nine to 10 with Smart's veteran presence. That will surely make a difference. The Celtics post-season starts today at 1:00 P.M. EST.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images



Tom Lane 4/15/2018 06:31:00 AM Edit
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