'Healthy Celtics' have been a depressingly rare sight this season

Darren Hartwell
NBC Sports Boston

The good news: Monday night was proof that the 2019-20 Boston Celtics can be really, really good when fully healthy.

The bad news: The 2019-20 Celtics are rarely fully healthy.

Monday's 139-107 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers was just the 16th time this season the Celtics' "Big Four" of Kemba Walker, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have shared the court together.

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That number will stay at 16 on Wednesday night -- Brown has been ruled out against the Memphis Grizzlies due to an ankle sprain -- meaning the Celtics will have had their "Big Four" active for just 37 percent of their games (16 of 43).

Add in the time Marcus Smart has missed (nine games in December due to an eye infection) and that number drops to 11 games (25 percent) in which the C's have had their five most important players.

"It's all part of it," head coach Brad Stevens said Wednesday about playing undermanned. "A lot of people are going through it. You deal with it as well as you can. It's a great opportunity.

"The last game we basically played eight guys in the rotation, but I trust everybody else that didn't get in. Great opportunity for those guys."

Monday's near-perfect game aside -- Tatum, Walker, Brown and Hayward combined for 83 points -- the Celtics actually have played better shorthanded: They're 10-6 when Walker, Hayward, Tatum and Brown all play and 18-8 when at least one of those players is sidelined.

That's a testament to Smart, who scored 15 points or more in eight of the 12 games Hayward missed earlier this season, and Boston's bench, which has been inconsistent but received timely contributions from the likes of Enes Kanter, Brad Wanamaker and Grant Williams.

"As professionals, we have to be able to adjust," Smart said Wednesday. "Jaylen's out, that doesn't mean we have to ... not play the way we've been playing. Especially after the Lakers game, we have to continue to strive for that type of game every night, regardless of who's on the court."

Wednesday presents another test for the "Hospital Celtics," who dropped two games without Brown last week and face a Grizzlies team that's won seven of its last eight games.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), Boston has plenty of experience playing with a short bench.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Grizzlies-Celtics, which begins Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

'Healthy Celtics' have been a depressingly rare sight this season originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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