The return of Ian Mahinmi is a modest upgrade to the Wizards' rotation, but the backup center who appeared in his first postseason game is due for a minutes bump vs. the Boston Celtics in Game 4 on Sunday.
Mahinmi, who had a strained left calf at the end of the regular season and had been inactive since, played 10 minutes off the bench in Thursday's 116-98 rout. He only took one shot and made it, and had two blocks and a steal.
"I tried to keep him to eight-to-10 minutes," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said after practice Saturday. "He felt pretty good today. I can see him play a few more minutes. Not a lot."
Just as important as any stat, Mahinmi gives them a true center behind starter Marcin Gortat against a team that lacks interior size and rebounding.
The second unit has been shaky at best on both ends of the floor. But at least with the 6-11 Mahinmi, he can clean up some of the leaky perimeter defense with rim protection and the ability to step out to defend pick-and-roll.
With Kelly Oubre suspended for Game 4, the rotation could be shorter for Brooks who'll rely on Mahinmi and Jason Smith, a forward who can play some at the five spot, on the frontline. He could stay with big lineups but has the versatility to go smaller.
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