The Boston Celtics will likely have two of their top defensive players, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams, back in the lineup for Thursday’s matchup with the Nets.

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told reporters that both players participated in full practice and are expected to play on Thursday.

“They both practiced today, looked good today, I expect them to play,” Udoka said.

Smart will be returning from a right ankle sprain he suffered in the team’s blowout win over the 76ers. He missed just one game before the All-Star break. Williams was sidelined for the last two games before the break with right calf tightness.

The Celtics are a different team with these two players active and last week’s loss against the Pistons is a perfect example of that. The Celtics have one of the league’s best defenses, as well as the best defense since the start of January.


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