Celtics

Three Celtic takeaways from USA’s dominant win over Japan

(Yifan Ting/Getty Images)

A collection of Celtic-themed takeaways after Team USA handily defeated Japan 98-45 in their final game of the first round in Shanghai at the FIBA World Cup.

1. Marcus Smart got the night off: The veteran guard had battled a calf injury during most of training camp but a sore quad was the reason for his absence on Thursday as the Americans played with just 10 bodies with Jayson Tatum (sprained ankle) on the mend. Sitting Smart in this game against Japan made plenty of sense since there was nothing on the line really for the Americans (they had already clinched a spot in the second round) and Japan did not have the talent to give the USA problems. The team called the injury day-to-day for now. A better indicator of how worrisome the injury is should come on Saturday when USA faces off with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece on Saturday morning in the second round.

2. Jaylen Brown bounced back in a big way: Injuries usually lead to opportunity in any situation and that