The NBA season has been put on hold for at least 30 days due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait until mid-April at the earliest to watch the Boston Celtics again.
As a way to make up for the loss of Celtics action, we'll be using the NBA 2K20 video game to simulate each game on the schedule until they finally return.
- vs. Milwaukee Bucks
- vs. Washington Wizards
- vs. Chicago Bulls
- vs. New York Knicks
- vs. Toronto Raptors
The Celtics were supposed to be playing the second half of a crucial back-to-back on Saturday. It would've been the team's fourth game against the Brooklyn Nets and the fourth time that they would face Brooklyn without Kyrie Irving.
Irving was out for the season with a shoulder injury before the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ironically, our simulation really, really wanted him to see some action vs. the Celtics.
It took a lot of tinkering, but we managed to create a Brooklyn lineup without Irving for the simulation C's to do battle with. Here are the results of that simulation:
As you can see, the Celtics fared very, very well on offense. And it was Jayson Tatum who led the way. The Nets had no answer for the 22-year-old who led the simulation Celtics' charge to a big first-quarter lead. He got to the hoop very easily and had several monster dunks that helped energize the Celtics.
Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward also had excellent outings, combining to make all five of their shots from beyond the arc and each reaching 19 points. Had the game not have been a blowout, either of them could've had a chance to reach the 30 mark along with Tatum.
Kemba Walker had been the primary scorer for the team in other simulations but took on the role of top distributor with Tatum, Smart, and Hayward on fire in this one.
There are some weird-looking stat lines from the rest of the lineup. Notably, Brad Wanamaker leading the team in minutes (27) and shot attempts (17) seems fluky. But in reality, the game was so far out of reach heading into the fourth that the C's started their reserves at the beginning of the quarter. As a result, Wanamaker's scoring stats are a bit inflated, as he ran the offense for most of the final 12 minutes of the game.
As for Vincent Poirier nearly notching a double-double, he was very much in the same boat but did have a solid run at the end of the second quarter. Simulation Brad Stevens elected to give all four of his centers a shot against DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen, and Poirier made the most of his time on the floor, especially on the offensive glass.
It really was a poor outing from the simulation Nets. Their top two scoring options, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, combined to go just 8-of-29 from the field for 19 points. The real LeVert poured in 51 in an overtime win in Boston on March 4. Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan exposed some of the weaknesses of the Celtics center rotation but with the team shooting just 16.7 percent from behind the arc, they never stood a chance.
After shooting 60 percent against the Raptors in their last simulated game, the Celtics continued to stay hot, hitting more than 50 percent of their shots. Part of the reason for that was their success in the paint (78 points in that area).
Additionally, winning the rebounding battle by 21 was also massive. That afforded them second-chance opportunities and the many long-range Nets misses that the C's grabbed afforded them an opportunity to get out in transition quite a bit. That's part of why the C's had a whopping 14 dunks on the day.
FINAL SCORE: Celtics 129, Nets 85
The simulation Celtics have now won four games in a row and are averaging an insane 123 points per game over that span. Next up, they'll take on the simulation Washington Wizards on their third consecutive road game.