The Boston Celtics will receive a big boost for their crucial Game 5 clash against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, with Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart returning to the line-up.
Smart missed Game 4 after suffering an awkward ankle injury in Game 3.
Adding to the Heat's problems is the fact that Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro will not return for Game 5, having not recovered from the groin strain that also kept him out of Game 4.
With each side missing one of their key players, the Celtics were buoyed by the performance of backup point guard Derrick White, who posted a handy stat-line of 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals in his first start since missing Game 2 for the birth of his child.
White's performance – especially on the defensive end – will likely cement his position in the rotation above fellow bench guard Payton Pritchard as Smart returns to the equation.
On the other side, it was Victor Oladipo shining off the bench as he tried to fill Herro's shoes, with the former All-Star scoring 18 of the Heat's first 28 points in Game 4, going on to finish with 23 points, six assists and four rebounds.
He also had a plus/minus of plus four from his 30 minutes, meaning the Celtics won the 18 minutes he was off the floor by 24 points.
Game 6 will head back to Boston on Friday, before a potential Game 7 back in Miami, if required.
AVAILABLE. pic.twitter.com/6ggALBxY6v— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 25, 2022