BOSTON – For the second year in a row, the Boston Celtics will have a new lineup going into their fourth game.
Last year it was to upgrade the first unit; this year it’s because of a concussion suffered by the newest Celtic, Al Horford.
Horford will not travel with the team for tomorrow night’s game at Cleveland, with no specific timetable for his return to the court.
Boston will also welcome back Marcus Smart who missed the first three games with a left ankle sprain injury.
In addition, the sore left shoulder that kept Avery Bradley out of practice will not keep him from playing tonight.
Bradley told CSNNE.com earlier tonight that the shoulder was feeling “a lot better.”
Later he told a group of reporters that he received a cortisone shot, but doesn’t anticipate needing one going forward.
As for Tyler Zeller, who started the first three games of last season before being replaced by Amir Johnson, he will be with the first unit tonight.
Zeller said he got word that he would be starting this morning.
“Just go out and compete,” said Zeller when asked what his mindset was for tonight’s game.
Zeller has been among the Celtics’ more productive players off the bench thus far this season, averaging 7.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from the field.
When Zeller made the decision to re-sign with the Celtics this summer, he did so with the hope being he would get a chance to see action for a franchise he never wanted to leave.
Now it seems he’s getting exactly what he wanted, although the circumstances aren’t what he would have liked.
But Zeller has been in the NBA long enough and has played enough games for head coach Brad Stevens to know that his opportunity to play was going to come sooner or later.
That time is now.
“Just trying to compete, play hard every night,” Zeller said. “Last year I had a couple things not fall my way and ended up on the bench. Still, gotta compete all year and personally make it difficult on coach to decide who should play.”