Celtics

One thing to know about each player on the Celtics’ roster

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is set for Thursday night.

Al Horford is heading to the NBA Finals for the first time. Michael Dwyer/AP Photo

As the Celtics try to take down the Warriors in the NBA Finals, they’ll rely on a mix of longtime Celtics and relative newcomers.

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford, among others, are household names, but there are many other players on the roster as well.

Here’s one thing to know about each member of the 2022 Celtics.

Jayson Tatum

Tatum has averaged 5.9 assists per game in the playoffs, including a nine-assist effort in Boston’s Game 5 win over the Heat. He’s taken his passing to another level in recent months and has facilitated well for the most part when he’s doubled-teamed.

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Head coach Ime Udoka has consistently preached the importance of making quick decisions and moving the ball, and Tatum’s ability to do so is often a barometer for how the Celtics fare.

He turned it over seven times in their Game 6 loss, compared to two in their Game 7 win. For the series, that number was at 3.25 in wins and 6.67 in losses.

Jaylen Brown

The Bay Area is a “home away from home” for Brown, who attended the University of California for a year.

“Blessed to be playing in the #NBAFinals in front of family and friends #GoBears,” Brown tweeted Tuesday.

Marcus Smart

Warriors coach Steve Kerr called Smart the “guard version of Draymond (Green).”

He said the Defensive Player of the Year is quick enough to chase point guards around and big enough to guard anyone one through five in the modern game. No one can stop Stephen Curry, but Smart has as good a chance as anyone to slow him down.

“He’s appropriately named,” Kerr said. “He’s a very smart player, really versatile and a great, great defender.”

Al Horford

This is the first NBA Finals appearance for the 15-year NBA veteran. Horford had previously played in the most playoff games (141) in league history without making a Finals – a list he’s thrilled to no longer lead.

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He also increased his salary guarantee for next season by $5 million because the Celtics made the Finals.

Robert Williams

Williams (knee) didn’t look like himself in Game 7 against the Heat and is benefitting from the extra rest before the NBA Finals.

Udoka said Williams “felt good” but isn’t completely in the clear.

“Getting looked at today, will continue to get his treatment and his rehab in order to get swelling down and some of the mobility back,” Udoka said. “It’s going to be an ongoing thing. He’s day-to-day throughout the playoffs.”

Derrick White

White has big-time new dad energy, as he and his wife, Hannah, welcomed Hendrix James White into the world May 19.

Yes, Hendrix is also the name of Robert Williams’s child. No, it wasn’t coordinated. Yes, they’ll likely be best friends if they aren’t already. No, Deuce Tatum isn’t concerned about losing the spotlight.

Grant Williams

Williams has scored in double figures in each of the Celtics’ close-out games this postseason.

Against Brooklyn, he finished with 14 points and 3 blocks. He erupted for 27, tying Curry and Marcus Morris Sr. for most 3s in a Game 7 with seven. Williams then added 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting in Game 7 against the Heat on Sunday.

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He averaged 7.8 points per game during the regular season.

Payton Pritchard

For whatever reason, Pritchard was much better on the road (7.6 points, 2.4 assists, 42.4 percent from 3-point range) than at home (4.8 points, 1.5 assists, 39.4 percent from 3) during the regular season.

Daniel Theis

Theis is the third German to make the Finals, joining Detlef Schrempf and Dirk Nowitzki.

Aaron Nesmith

His brother, Eddie, attended Harvard University.

Luke Kornet

He’s not quite Tacko Fall’s height, but Kornet is 7 feet, 2 inches, making him the tallest player on either roster.

Nik Stauskas

He scored a combined 100 points over a two-game span in the G League earlier this season.

Sam Hauser

Hauser has a higher career 3-point percentage (43.2) than Curry (42.8). Curry has made more.

Brodric Thomas

He led Southwestern Community College to a national championship before starring at Division II Truman State.

Malik Fitts

He’s become known for his celebrations on the bench, often getting creative with unique dance moves and gestures as his teammates excel on the court.

Juwan Morgan

He has one career postseason point.

Matt Ryan

He’s not related to that Matt Ryan, but he did make his Celtics debut on 3-28.

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