NBA coaches are not given defined criteria when voting for All-Star reserves. They are free to determine a player’s value however they wish. Celtics coach Ime Udoka, for one, said he places a lot of importance on winning.
“Record is a huge part of it, in my opinion,” Udoka said. “You look at some numbers and everybody has a different opinion on what they value. Some guys are scoring high numbers on teams that aren’t winning, versus you look at a team like Chicago or Cleveland that kind of came out of nowhere and what the guys have done to impact that.
“I really value the winning aspect, because across the board someone may be at 29 [points per game] but not winning versus 25, 26 with some other guys, like a Chicago with [Zach] LaVine and [DeMar] DeRozan and what those guys have done to impact and change the course of the season for those guys.
“So I value the winning for sure, but at the same time you can’t deny or take away from a guy that’s really scoring or doing some exceptional things on a poor team.”
The All-Star reserves will be revealed on TNT on Thursday night. No Celtics were named starters when those groups were announced last week, but forwards Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown figure to once again be in the mix for reserve spots. Brown was chosen last season, and Tatum has made the team in each of the last two years.
They combined for 49 points in the Celtics’ 122-92 victory over the Heat on Monday night, with Brown leading the way with 29 points on 11-for-19 shooting and Tatum adding 20 points to go along with 12 rebounds.
Udoka cannot vote for his own players, but he said he doesn’t think the fact that Brown missed 14 games due to a hamstring injury should be held against him.
“I think [Tatum and Brown] have been playing extremely well together,” Udoka said. “It’s a short sample size, but us being 4-0 when they’ve both scored 30, and so you see how they impact the game, obviously, and I think teams know that we’ve played against know the value that they bring to our team, just like we know as coaches the value of who we’re playing against.
“And so, two guys that are pretty consistent on a night to night basis, one of the top tandems in the league. They’re flirting around that 50 number with what they average between each other and I think we go where they go. When we’re good, when they’re really good together, we’re undefeated.”
Heat check for Robert Williams
In the Celtics’ 107-97 win against the Pelicans on Saturday center Robert Williams launched his first 3-pointer of the season and the third of his career. He has missed all three, but his attempt against New Orleans, late in the comfortable win, brought joy to his teammates anyway.
“The whole team was yelling at me to shoot the ball,” Williams said, smiling.
He has not reached the point where he is comfortable firing away from beyond the arc, clearly. But he hopes to get there eventually.
“We work on threes every shootaround,” Williams said. “I work on all aspects of my game. It’s just something I’d rather happen natural-like, like if it’s late shot clock and I have to get it off. But it’s not something I’m hunting for. You just let it come.”
Dennis Schröder cleared to play
Celtics guard Dennis Schröder was cleared to play after being a game-time decision due to a sore Achilles’.
“He’s a guy that plays through pretty much everything, so we’ve seen this before where he has to just test it out,” Udoka said.
Schröder wound up logging 17 minutes off the bench, scoring 4 points on 1-for-3 shooting, including 2 of 3 from the foul line.
The Heat were considerably shorthanded for Monday’s game, missing Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris.