Stevens: Larkin (shoulder) out for Game 5 and beyond

Stevens: Larkin (shoulder) out for Game 5 and beyond

WALTHAM, Mass. – No disrespect to Shane Larkin, but the news of him being out for Game 5 tonight got nothing more than a shoulder shrug from Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

That’s because Larkin being out with a left shoulder injury is the latest setback for a team that has had plenty of them all season.

And yet here they are, one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference finals, where the Cleveland Cavaliers, having swept the top-seeded Toronto Raptors earlier this week, will be waiting.

“I don’t anticipate him back anytime soon,” said Stevens. Larkin, the C's backup point guard, was injured when he collided with Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid in the first half of Game 4. He immediately left the game and didn't return.

While Larkin did not play major minutes for Boston, his presence was among the many factors that have led to Boston jumping out to a 3-0 series lead against Philadelphia.

“We’re just going to have other guys step up,” Stevens said. “We’re used to that. At the end of the day, it is what it is.”

Stevens added, “He’s played well in this series and has done a lot of great things for us all year and through the playoffs. It’s a bummer for him. That’s where you always start in these scenarios. And then we’ll figure it out.”

Without Larkin, the Celtics may rely on Terry Rozier to play longer shifts than we’ve seen thus far in this series.

When speaking to the media prior to the team’s morning shoot-around, Rozier said he didn’t know Larkin was out.

“We just have to do what we can,” Rozier said. “This has been our team. We had to get Game 1 without Jaylen Brown. It’s the story of this team; that’s just how it goes.”

Larkin has played in all 11 of Boston’s playoff games this year, averaging 3.7 points, 1.8 assists and 1.0 rebounds per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.



NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Celtics draft big man Robert Williams in first round

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Celtics draft big man Robert Williams in first round

1:24 - A. Sherrod Blakely, Brain Scalabrine and Kyle Draper break down the Celtics' selection in the 2018 NBA Draft and are joined by the man who made the pick himself, Danny Ainge.

7:49 - The Nets and Dwight Howard have begun buyout talks, which means the veteran center could soon be a free agent. Michael Holley, Danielle Trotta and Luke Bonner debate if Howard would be a good fit in Boston.

11:59 - Brad Stevens fields questions from the media immediately following the Celtics selection of Williams.



Ainge stays patient in draft by standing pat at No. 27

Ainge stays patient in draft by standing pat at No. 27

BOSTON – Danny Ainge went through his customary routine of making calls up and down the draft, looking for any and every opportunity to make a deal that would strengthen the Boston Celtics roster. 

And while he was open to getting a deal done and move away from the team’s late first-round pick, Ainge said he went into Thursday night’s draft intent on standing pat with the 27th overall pick that was used to select Robert Williams.

The past few weeks were spent by Ainge and his front office staff examining what the price would be for them to move up in the draft. 

That price proved to be too steep for Ainge’s liking. 

His assessment afterward?

“We were preparing for the 27th pick,” Ainge said. “We were preparing for opportunities to move up; not all the way to the top of the draft but somewhere in the middle and we were preparing for guys we didn’t like, and move back in the draft. It’s the same thing we do every year, prepare for any situation that comes up.”

But this draft felt different, in part because the Celtics were beginning further back than recent years in which includes Boston having the No. 3 overall pick in back-to-back drafts. 

And just like Boston seemed to get great value out of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum from the last two drafts, they are hoping for continued draft success in adding Williams who at one point was considered a player with lottery (top-14) pick talent. 

“Robert will have opportunities to play, but that will depend on how well he plays, what he does,” Ainge said.

Williams’ head coach Billy Kennedy echoed similar sentiments.

“He’s a special talent,” Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy told Boston Sports Tonight. “He can do things some of the other guys in the draft can’t do.”

Which made staying patient and not aggressively trying to move up in the draft, a worthwhile decision for Ainge in Boston landing a player that they did not go into the draft anticipating would be available to them if they stood pat with the 27th overall pick.