The Boston Celtics entered Wednesday night's showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers down three starters in Marcus Smart (ankle), Al Horford (knee) and Robert Williams III (ankle). By the end of the first half that number was up to four after Jaylen Brown took an accidental elbow to the face from Jayson Tatum.
While the Celtics still managed to secure an impressive 106-99 win, they will now be without Brown for an extended period. He has suffered a facial fracture and will be out through the All-Star break, according to Shams Charania. Brown is due to see a specialist on Thursday for further examination.
With just under two minutes remaining in the second quarter, Brown missed a 3-point opportunity from the corner and the rebound bounced straight up in the air. Brown went to get his own miss, while Tatum came towards the ball from the other direction. Unfortunately, there wasn't quite enough communication, and Tatum rocked Brown in the jaw with an elbow as he grabbed the ball.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum collide towards the end of the half and JB heads to the locker room #PHIvsBOS pic.twitter.com/Kf1Yn0Z7pO— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) February 9, 2023
Brown immediately collapsed to the floor grabbing his face and went straight to the locker room. A short time later the team officially declared him out for the remainder of the game with what they termed a facial contusion. As it turns out, it was worse than that.
The Celtics have been banged up in recent weeks, with Smart, Horford and Williams all missing time at various points. Those absecnes have played a big role in their mini slump; entering Wednesday night's contest they had lost four of their last seven games. Brown joining the wounded on the sideline is not what the team needed heading into the All-Star break.
Considering all the absences, many would have expected that trend to continue against the Sixers. Instead, the Celtics caught fire from downtown and had a number of players step up en route to one of their best results of the season. Malcolm Brogdon, Sam Hauser and Luke Kornet combined for 41 points off the bench, while Blake Griffin, making a rare start, chipped in a season-high 15 points. As a team, the Celtics shot 19 of 35 from 3-point land, and had six different players make at least one shot from outside.