Luke Kornet ruled out of Celtics playoff opener vs. Miami

Luke Kornet will not suit up for the Boston Celtics when they begin their playoff run on Sunday (April 21). They will face the Miami Heat in the opening round. The Heat are coming into the game, having played in two play-in tournament contests. The veteran big man is dealing with a right calf strain.

Without Kornet in the rotation, Boston will likely rely on Xavier Tillman to be the team’s third-string big man. Tillman will provide Boston with switchability at the center position while also giving Joe Mazzulla an option to match the Heat’s physicality if the game begins to get chippy.

Kornet has been a big part of Mazzulla’s rotation this season. He’s played in 63 games this season, averaging 5.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting 70% from the field. Kornet is especially effective when containing ball-handlers while defending pick-and-roll actions.

Mazzulla will likely shorten his rotation heading into the postseason, which means Kornet’s role was likely to be marginalized with Al Horford being the primary bench big. Nevertheless, the Celtics will likely want their trusty backup center back sooner rather than later. Fortunately, Tillman is a capable deputy.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire