Fri. Jan 27th, 2023

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The Boston Celtics lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat in large part because they were without two key starters: Marcus Smart and Al Horford. They’ll be getting at least one of those guys back for Game 2 on Thursday night, as Horford is available to play, the team announced. He missed Game 1 after being placed in the league’s health and safety protocols. Getting Horford back will obviously be a big boost for Boston. 

The Celtics will be without guard Derrick White for Game 2, as he is away from the team to be there as his wife gives birth to their child. Smart, who is dealing with a mid-foot sprain, has been listed as probable for Game 2. His final status will likely be determined shortly before tip time. 

Smart is super important to the Celtics, as he is the glue that helps keep Boston’s defense together, and though he doesn’t put up monster numbers on offense, his passing is a critical component of their attack on that end of the floor. He helps keep the ball moving if Boston gets too stagnant, and does a great job of putting his teammates in a position to get a good look. His 39.4 percent mark from 3-point range was also an additional weapon the Celtics used against the Bucks. 

In Game 6 against Milwaukee, Smart put up 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while being a pest defensively to help extend the series for the Celtics. He followed that up with an 11-point, 10-assist, seven-rebound performance in Game 7, and finished the game a plus-18.   

Game 2 will be crucial for Boston, as they don’t want to fall behind 0-2 in the series, so the more players they have available, the better. 

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