Marcus Smart replaces injured Isaiah Thomas in Celtics starting lineup for Game 3

Marcus Smart replaces injured Isaiah Thomas in Celtics starting lineup for Game 3

CLEVELAND -- As expected. The Boston Celtics will turn to Marcus Smart to replace an injured Isaiah Thomas in the starting lineup.

Thomas re-aggravated a right hip injury in the first half of Boston's Game 2 loss in Friday.

The team announced less than 24 hours later that he would not return for the rest of the series.

Smart has made 24 starts this season, averaging 11.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists with the first unit which includes Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson and Al Horford.

That five-man unit has been solid this season when they have played together.

They have shot 50.3 percent from the field, 46.5 percent on 3's with an offensive rating of 108.6 and a defensive rating of 100.6 which in part is aided by a defense that limited opponents to just 30.9 percent shooting from 3-point range this season.

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

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NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.

5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.

11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.

Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday


Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday

The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.

Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.


During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.

While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.

“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”

But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.

“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”