Celtics' roster shuffle yields familiar result


Celtics' roster shuffle yields familiar result

BOSTON Well before the Boston Celtics were struggling, head coach Doc Rivers was giving some thought to putting Brandon Bass in the starting lineup ahead of Jermaine O'Neal.

"I've been thinking about it since camp," Rivers said.

Rivers trotted out his new lineup on Friday, and the result was an all too familiar loss as the Chicago Bulls held on for an 88-79 win.

The C's (4-6) have now lost three in a row, and they're off to the worst 10-game start to the season since 2006 - the year before the Big Three joined forces.

"We're still young in the season," said Boston's Ray Allen. "We know what's in us, and we know what this team is capable of. The adversity has struck us early, but we're all in."

Part of being "all in" involves adapting to changes that Rivers believes will help the C's moving forward.

One of those changes was on full display Friday night as Bass made his first start with the Green team.

He had 10 points and nine rebounds while playing just under 33 minutes.

Rivers hasn't decided on whether he'll keep Bass in the starting lineup Saturday against Indiana, but did say that it's a lineup that you'll see "70 percent" of the time.

"There will be nights where I think size will be a factor," said Rivers, who added that Saturday's game against the Pacers is one of those games. "I'm not sure which way we'll go. I just sat JO and Brandon down and I said, 'you two will be our starters.' And that there will be nights when one starts, and there will be nights when the other starts."

Bass' play certainly is a major factor in Rivers' decision to play him at times with the first unit.

But as Rivers points out, it also gives the Celtics more depth in the middle.

"I thought it gave us more versatility and I thought our rotations were easier when you bring Jermaine in for Kevin (Garnett) you stay big," Rivers said. "And what I'm trying to do is always have Jermaine or Kevin - just size on the floor more."

Garnett recognizes, understands and appreciates Rivers' willingness to do whatever he has to do in order to get the C's on track this season.

"Doc's going to play with different lineups, do what he feels is best for the team," Garnett said. "And we're going to support whatever that is. Anybody that's going to be part of that transition, will understand what it is. We're all in here, trying to figure this thing out together.

Garnett added, "these are dog days; these are the days where you're going to really see who is with you, who is fair-weather, but we're going to continue to work. Whatever Doc feels is best for the team, we're going to support either way."