Celtics contemplating a change to starting five

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Celtics contemplating a change to starting five

DALLAS You don't have to hit Doc Rivers over the head for him to realize that what he's doing now with the Celtics is not working.

There are too many lapses at both ends of the floor. Players are beginning to talk more and more about not competing and being embarrassed. Boston's problems seem to have a Ground Hog's Day feel about them.

Rivers will do whatever it takes to make things right, even if it means shaking up the starting lineup.

In the aftermath of the C's third straight loss on Sunday, Rivers revealed that he and his staff have had serious discussions about making a lineup change.

"I have to figure out a way, figure out another combination, maybe," Rivers said. "We just have to keep searching."

As far as why he hasn't made a change yet, Rivers said, "I just haven't done it. It's tough to do it, when you don't have your guys. If you wanted to make a change, how can you? Kevin (Garnett) and Brandon (Bass) are out, or somebody else is out."

Based on the players currently healthy, the C's might consider inserting Mickael Pietrus into the starting lineup ahead of Ray Allen.

The upside to such a move for Boston would be having a bigger shooting guard, and a better defender, on the floor to start games. And while the Celtics have had their problems scoring, part of that has to do with their defense's inability to get easy points off turnovers and stops.

Because Allen usually doesn't score early on, having him come off the bench would make him a bigger focal point of the offense. With Bass out until after the break, having the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers made go against second unit players could create a favorable matchup for the C's.

Rivers didn't say whether it was something they would do soon, but the fact that it's something they've talked about for a while speaks volumes as to how concerned Rivers and his staff are with what they're seeing on the floor now.

And while a trade is certainly an option, Rivers believes the team's turn-around will come from within this current group.

"I think it's a group in that locker room that fits," Rivers said. "But I have not found that right fit yet."

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)