Celtics’ Marcus Smart has returned from a torn hand to his best performance of the season

The wound was deep and painful for Smart, who had been unable to pick up a basketball for a few days. He said he went down to keep his hand open for hours to allow his palms to heal.

“Maybe I should have had stitches when that happened; it was a really deep cut,” he said. “It’s hard to play with your dominant hand when you can’t catch the ball. We just wanted to give him more days to recover and he was recovering very well.”

Due to the lack of team guards, Payton Pritchard He had to play heavy minutes in the loss to Timberwolves and Clippers. Pritchard came off the bench on Friday and played 13 minutes over in a Sparkplug role Im Odoka perceptions. He scored 11 points in a 4-4 shot.

Udoka limited his playing rotation to eight players, with the clever scoring after 39 minutes of a five-day break.

back strong

The Celtics spent 48 hours reviewing how they missed 38 of 42 3-point shots in Wednesday’s disappointing 91-82 loss to the Clippers.

Odoka said it was just a matter of missing open shots against the area defence. On Friday, the Celtics hit four of their first eight three-pointers and finished a respectable 10 for 27 from outside the arc. The difference, Odoka said, was that shots were dropping and the Celtics handled the Phoenix defense more efficiently.

“We showed [the players] Few of the wide aperture shots and that was more evident in the movie,” Odoka said. “That’s what needs to be done in the area and we’ve skipped several contested attempts and got wide open shots, and that’s the part you keep [the players] Confident that you are taking the right shots.

“Our shoot hasn’t been one of our bright spots all year but these open looks are what they are and you have to take it.”

Odoka said the players had a “heavy shooting day” in training Thursday.

“There were a lot of great shots and we showed them that they played the right game,” he said. “We’ll live by that score and take the same shots.”

be cerfull

With the COVID-19 protocol affecting 10 NBA coaches, including Phoenix Monty Williams and clippers Tyrone LowCoaches, Odoka said, may be the most vulnerable of all the NBA players because of their access to players.

“It’s something that seems inevitable sometimes, because we’re probably the most exposed because all the players that end up being positive are players and the head coaches are usually equally masked,” he said.

“Obviously you’re screaming directions and you need them to understand and hear you from a distance but also from gatherings and every two-person conversation, so that’s something you realize and we’ve talked about with our assistants and things may happen. So you hire the people you trust behind you.”

Hit hard by COVID

The sun has been destroyed by the COVID-19 protocol. coach assistant Kevin Young He took over training duties. Phoenix was also without centers Dender Eaton And Gavel McGeeAnd And your former Celtic Jay Crowder. Previous lottery selection Galen Smith He got the start and scored 19 points… Odoka revealed that 10 days is under contract Justin Jackson And CJ Miles They will not return to the team after their contracts expire. All of them were in the COVID-19 protocol. Jackson was expected to sign with the Suns. Miles is back in the NBA after a two-year absence… The Celtics are unlikely to re-sign any of their hardship contract players as players continue to be kicked out of protocol. Jason TatumAnd Dennis SchroederAnd Anis freedomAnd Bruno FernandoAnd Aaron Nesmith Staying on protocol and needing two negative tests to clear… the 19 missed shots Devin Booker It was his most since he went to 21 on March 40, 2017, when he scored 70 points against the Celtics at TD Garden… The Celtics held a minute’s silence in front of the Hall of Famer Sam Joneswho died Thursday. He was 88 years old. Jones won 10 championships with the Celtics, and is the second oldest player in NBA history after Bill Russell (11).

Gary Washburn is a columnist for The Globe. He can be reached at gary.washburn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed.

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