The Boston Celtics have won nine games in a row, with their last two wins coming in last-minute fashion. They took down the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors and now sit at 35-12, 4.5 games up on second place in the Eastern Conference.
Now, they will head to Florida to take on the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat. In their first of the two games, against the Magic, they’ll have to face more talent than they bargained for. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Jonathan Isaac is set to return from injury after missing over two years of action.
“After missing over two NBA seasons, Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is expected to make his return and season debut on Monday vs. Boston, source tells @TheAthletic @Stadium,” Charania tweeted.
Boston has already played Orlando three times this season, having won one game and lost the other two. The game they won was back at the beginning of the season on October 22, but the two games they lost were heartbreakers.
They dropped two contests in a row at home against the Magic on December 16 and December 18. The losses were a part of a three-game losing streak in the middle of December, as well as a part of a 1-5 skid that saw the Celtics slide a bit in terms of record.
As for Isaac, he hasn’t appeared in a game since August 2, 2022 – in The Bubble. The last semi-full season Isaac played was in the 2019-2020 season, but he only played in 34 games, playing 28.8 minutes per contest. He averaged 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 2.3 blocks per game on 47.0% shooting from the field and 34.0% shooting from behind the three-point line.
Injury Updates on Marcus Smart & Robert Williams
The Magic aren’t the only team dealing with injuries, however. Boston suffered two brutal blows in their win over the Raptors. Marcus Smart hurt his ankle, Robert Williams injured his knee, and both were ruled out at halftime. However, head coach Joe Mazzulla provided a positive update after the game, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
“Joe Mazzulla said Rob Williams hyperextended his knee but it’s nothing serious. Marcus Smart’s knee is fine, but his rolled ankle will be a day-to-day issue at this point per Mazzulla,” Weiss tweeted.
Jaylen Brown Extremely Confident in Celtics
But despite their injuries and unfortunate losses to the Magic, the Celtics are still the best team in the NBA. After Boston’s win over Toronto, Jaylen Brown expressed his confidence in the team when asked about the team’s scoring options.
“I just play the game,” Brown told NBC Sports Boston. “I mean, I’ll let you guys determine what is the options. We’re not number one and number two, I just come out and play the game. The moment you start thinking that is the moment that I think that you’ll start doubting yourself or – there’s no need to come out and play the game any other way than how I normally play. And that’s how I see it. Tonight, we was out guys. Obviously, I would get more attention. But tonight, we had guys step up. We had Payton [Pritchard] come out and play really well. Grant [Williams] came out and got hot. And that’s what we need. We’re a team. So, it doesn’t matter who rolls the ball out or which team is doing what, I got my money on the C’s. I don’t know if I can say that.”