The Boston Celtics have won nine straight games, with the last two wins coming in the last minute. They defeated the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors to go 35-12, 4.5 games ahead and second in the Eastern Conference.
Now they will travel to Florida to face off against the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat. In their first of two games, against the Magic, they face more talent than they bargained for. After Shams Charania by The AthleticJonathan Isaac will return after an injury absence of over two years.
“After missing over two NBA seasons, Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is expected to return Monday against Boston and make his season debut, the source told @TheAthletic @Stadium,” Charania tweeted.
Boston has already played Orlando three times this season, winning one game and losing the other two. The game they won was early in the season on October 22, but the two games they lost were heartbreaks.
They lost back-to-back contests at home to the Magic on December 16th and 18th. The losses were part of a three-game losing streak in mid-December as well as part of a 1-5 slip that saw the Celtics slip a bit in terms of record.
Isaac hasn’t appeared in a game since August 2, 2022 – The Bubble. The last half-full season Isaac played was in the 2019-2020 season, but he only played in 34 games, playing 28.8 minutes per competition. He averaged 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per game on 47.0% shots from the field and 34.0% shots from behind the three-point line .
The Magic aren’t the only team struggling with injuries, however. Boston suffered two brutal blows in his victory over the Raptors. Marcus Smart injured his ankle, Robert Williams injured his knee and both were ruled out at half-time. However, head coach Joe Mazzulla gave 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 doing well but his rolled ankle will be an everyday issue per Mazzulla at this point,” Weiss tweeted.
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 chances.
“I’m just playing the game” Brown to NBC Sports Boston. “I mean, I’ll let you guys decide what the options are. We’re not number one and number two, I just come out and play the game. The moment you start thinking that’s the moment I think you start doubting yourself or — there’s no need to come out and play the game differently than I usually do games And that’s how I see it. We were out tonight folks. Of course I would get more attention. But tonight we had boys stepping up. We had Payton [Pritchard] come out and play really well. Grant [Williams] came out and got hot. And we need that. We are a team. So, no matter who rolls the ball out or which team does what, I get my money’s worth with the C’s. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that.”