Celtics

Celtics' starting lineup vs. Knicks includes surprise addition

Celtics

Ime Udoka isn't afraid to buck convention, it appears.

The new Celtics head coach revealed Boston's starting lineup ahead of Wednesday night's season opener against the New York Knicks, and one member of the group might raise some eyebrows.

Here's the starting five:

PG Marcus Smart
SG Jaylen Brown
SF Jayson Tatum
PF Grant Williams
C Robert Williams III

Celtics fans will be pleased to see Jaylen Brown in the lineup after the All-Star guard was listed as questionable Tuesday while working his way back from a positive COVID-19 test during the preseason.

They might be surprised to see Grant Williams in the lineup, though. Williams seemingly is a fill-in for big man Al Horford, who is ruled out for Wednesday's game after also testing positive for COVID last week.

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The 22-year-old didn't make much of an impact in the box score last season -- 4.7 points and 2.8 rebounds over 18.1 minutes per game -- so it seemed more likely Udoka would roll with a more seasoned veteran like wing Josh Richardson or big man Juancho Hernangomez.

Williams has familiarity with Boston's system, though, and shot 44.4% from 3-point range over four solid preseason games. The Knicks boast a talented frontcourt of Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, so it makes sense why Udoka would go with a two-big lineup, with Williams likely defending the All-Star Randle.

The Celtics' starting lineup may vary from game to game based on matchup, and it will be more important to monitor who's on the floor at the end of games. But Williams will have an early opportunity to prove himself to Udoka on Wednesday night.

 

Coverage of Celtics-Knicks begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Boston with Celtics Pregame Live ahead of the 7:30 p.m. tip..