Every single matchup between teams bunched up in the 2-6 race in the Eastern Conference is going to carry a little more importance in the second half of the season for the Celtics. Those games effectively count as double in the standings when tiebreakers are involved and the C's have one looming on Tuesday night as they wrap up their three-game road trip in South Beach against the Heat.
We already know Enes Kanter will miss his third straight game with a sore hip as he remains back in Boston but additional reinforcements were expected as Brad Stevens spoke positively about the progress that Jayson Tatum had been making while recovering from his strained groin in the past week.
After being listed as questionable for the last two games, however, that progress has appeared to stall a little bit as the team listed Tatum as doubtful to play against the Heat on Tuesday as of Monday afternoon. The Celtics are just 1-2 in games without the durable Tatum this season including a pair of ugly double-digit losses to sub .500 teams in New Orleans and Detroit.
The long view is going to be essential with Tatum here always with any kind of injury that's prone to re-injury like a groin. The calculus suddenly gets much tougher for the C's to win on Tuesday night without him though against a Heat team 1/2 game ahead of Boston in the standings. To make matters worse, one