Blakely: Should Allen return to starting lineup?

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Blakely: Should Allen return to starting lineup?

BOSTON When you get this deep into a playoff series, it really becomes a game of adjustments.

The Atlanta Hawks made their big move by putting Al Horford and Marvin Williams back in the starting lineup, reverting back to the starting lineup they had at the start of the regular season.

Will the Celtics follow suit?

Not likely, but it's certainly worth giving some thought if you're Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

The C's have been a much better team with more balance since moving Ray Allen to the bench and inserting Avery Bradley into the starting lineup.

But Bradley is not himself now with a left shoulder injury continuing to only get worse as he plays more.

The C's have plenty of options to turn to if they opt to sit Bradley and replace him with a healthier alternative: Sasha Pavlovic. Mickael Pietrus. Marquis Daniels. Maybe Keyon Dooling.

All have had moments this season when they have come up big for the C's.

But they all fall short of providing what Allen has provided throughout his illustrious Hall of Fame-bound career.

And with Allen's right ankle injury appearing more and more like a thing of the past, Allen is in the right place health-wise, at the right time for the Celtics.

His play since coming back has been reminiscent to the Ray Allen we saw at the start of the season, who on many nights kept the C's from completely sinking off the radar.

"We might not have won any games had he not been making shots," C's president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, told CSNNE.com. "He was shooting the best of his career through the first 25 games. The team wasn't playing great, so people forget the impact that Ray was having for us early in the year."

Again, replacing Allen with Bradley has been one of the best moves made by Doc Rivers this season, easily.

But if Bradley continues to struggle physically on the floor, that will take away from his strong play defensively.

If he's not able to bring it on the defensive end like the C's are used to, replacing him with an offensive weapon like Allen at this point in the series could be exactly what the C's need to put away the Hawks.

And while it remains highly unlikely that the Celtics would make such a move right now -- especially when you consider that Allen is playing as many minutes or more coming off the bench than he did as a starter -- Boston has to exhaust all options at their disposal.

Bringing Ray Allen back into the fold as a starter?

That should be one of them.

Are Celtics better off building through draft or via trade?

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Are Celtics better off building through draft or via trade?

Steve Buckley joins Arbella Early Edition to give his opinion on how the Boston Celtics path to becoming a title contender will come, through the draft of via trades?

Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

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Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. – There was very little sizzle in the moves made by Boston during last season, one in which they were hoping would be a summer full of basketball fireworks.

Well the bar is once again set relatively high for the Celtics this offseason, one in which the chances of making an impact, fireworks-worthy deal appear to be even better now than they were a year ago.

The Celtics have Brooklyn’s first-round pick in next month’s draft that has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection, and will be no worse than the sixth overall pick.

That’s just the first of eight picks for the Celtics in next month’s draft.

Boston has the potential to shed enough salary to offer a pair of near-max contracts to free agents this summer.

“We look forward to every offseason,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “This offseason is bigger. My expectations are high this offseason. And yet I also know that it takes good fortune.”

There’s the NBA draft lottery later this month.

“We need some ping-pong balls to bounce our way, give us the best opportunity,” Ainge said.

The Celtics own Brooklyn’s first-round pick courtesy of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn in 2013. That pick will be no worse than the sixth overall selection this season but has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection.

“Whether we use that pick, trade that pick and … in free agency we have opportunities. That’s all we have,” Ainge said. “We have no guarantees of great things happening. We have a lot of hope. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to have Plan A through Z; usually it’s A through G.”