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It's Pretty Rude That Doc Rivers Is Unleashing Both Kawhi Leonard And Paul George For The First Time Against His Old Team

Well this was pretty damn predictable. So much so that the second the buzzer sounded on Monday night my brain immediately knew what was coming

How did I know? For starters it's the classic curveball you have to be expecting at all times on these bullshit West Coast trips. I said it at the beginning that you needed to mentally prepare for weird shit to happen. Sunday it was Buddy Hield not missing anything and a floater spending 15 seconds on the rim and not dropping, and it made perfect sense that once the Celts found their way to LA that THEY would be the first team in the league to have to face Kawhi/Paul George in the same game. Magically after missing the last three games with that knee "bruise" Kawhi would find himself healthy enough for this one. In some ways this tells me the Clippers respect the Celtics as a legit opponent, so that's pretty cool. But also, Doc….what the hell man. Does 2008 mean nothing to you? I swear if either of these dudes miss Friday vs HOU which is also on ESPN I'm taking this personal. I know the Celts and Doc didn't have the best split but that was so long ago there is no need for tactics like this. 

Now the spinzone here is pretty simple. If the Celts win, myself and Celtics fans everywhere will gladly use this win as further evidence that the Celtics are legit and they should be treated as real contenders. If they lose, well it doesn't mean shit because they are without Gordon Hayward who has been arguably their best player. Read a book for me one time. In the business we call that a nice little win-win scenario that helps play into my narrative. 

So what are the Celts going to do now that both are active? Well it's tricky. I imagine your initial thought is to just stick Smart on one of them, but honestly he doesn't really thrive defensively historically against bigger wings. Obviously Jaylen will take one of them, but I wouldn't hate if we saw Tatum/Smart rotate between the other guy and whoever ends up starting at SG/SF (if they go big) whether it's Mann or Harkless. If I had to choose I'd go Jaylen on George and Tatum/Smart on Kawhi. Why? Because Kawhi knows how to pump fake and I still don't trust Jaylen not biting and early foul trouble for him would be a big time issue. 

The real question will be what Brad does with his rotations, because chances are he's not going to be able to survive long stretches without his best players on the floor. It was already a tall order to deal with that if only one of Kawhi/George played, but now that both are active and Doc can stagger one of them with Harrell/Williams, Brad is going to have to respond and remember not to fall asleep and forget to sub people back in early. I am already terrified of the second quarter. 

We knew this West Coast trip was going to be a bitch. We knew it was an opportunity for us to really learn what type of team the Celts might be, and I would say going up against what many considered the best team in the NBA when healthy in their building while being shorthanded is a pretty good test.