Boston Celtics G/F Marcus Smart has been suspended one game for directing threatening language at a game official. He is not expected to play in Wednesday’s game vs. the Charlotte Hornets. The Celtics lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night in an embarrassing effort, which resulted in a frustrated Smart taking it out on an official. As a result, the Celtics won’t have Smart for Wednesday’ big game vs. the Hornets.
The Celtics also won’t have Kemba Walker (oblique/rest) for their game vs. the Hornets. So that’s two starters in the back court who won’t be able to play. Jayson Tatum is back in the lineup and so is Robert Williams, which are both going to provide a nice boost. As a result, we should see more playing time for Payton Pritchard at point guard.
This game has some playoff implications. The Celtics are currently in 6th place in the East and the Hornets are in the 8-seed only 1.5 games behind Boston in the standings. The Celtics losing Smart means they’ve essentially lost their best defender on the perimeter. Walker is already out. The Celtics are reeling a bit after a bad loss to the Thunder. This lines up well for the Hornets.
Right now, the Celtics are favored by 6.5 points at home. That line should shift a bit and go down to around 4.5 points now that Smart won’t play. The over/under is also 215, so expect that number to get bet up a bit with Smart being a strong defender. The Hornets toasted the Celtics 125-104 a few games ago and that was when the Celtics had both Smart and Walker. The Hornets are throwing out the same lineup as that game basically, so the only difference this time around is location. This feels like a spot to get Charlotte and the points or even on the moneyline at +205.
For fantasy purposes, Robert Williams ($5,400) is underpriced and should feast on the boards against the Hornets. Look out to make sure Time Lord isn’t on a minutes limit, however. Payton Pritchard ($4,000) should be chalk at guard and will likely start in the back court with Walker and Smart out. Jayson Tatum ($9,600) and Jaylen Brown ($8,500) are both good tournament plays. Boston needs a win and those two players should play a ton of minutes in what could be a close game.
On the other side of the ball, Smart was likely going to guard Terry Rozier ($7,700) for most of this game. Scary Terry now has an easier matchup in a revenge spot back in Boston. The last time he faced the Celtics with Smart guarding him, Rozier dropped 50.8 fantasy points on 21 points, 11 assists and 5 rebounds in that win. Rozier becomes a very strong mid-range elite option for tournaments.