More lineup tinkering in exhibition finale

More lineup tinkering in exhibition finale
October 22, 2012, 2:12 am
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BOSTON Give Doc Rivers credit, he's been creative with his lineups this preseason anyways.

The Celtics ability to be 'multiple' to use a football term has allowed Rivers to experiment with many different lineups, whether starting or in-game.

In Sunday's 88-79 loss to the Sixers, Rivers was back in the lab, electing to start Jeff Green at small forward and slide Pierce to shooting guard. Rajon Rondo manned the point, while Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett made up the frontcourt. That left Courtney Lee to come off the bench, while Jason Terry sat out.

The results? Mixed. While Boston jumped out to a nine-point lead in the first five minutes, they couldn't hold it. Philly rebounded its way back in exposing a weakness from last season that doesn't appear to be fully fixed especially with big men Chris Wilcox (back) and Darko Milicic (wrist) missing the game.

Turnovers also stood out.The C's turned it over seven times in the first quarter and 20 times for the game to their 18 assists.

Rondo scored six of his 12 points in the first, and finished with a double-double (10 assists). Green, too, finished with a double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds. Again, he looked comfortable with his teammates, and showed his athleticism and versatility on a number of occasions.

But when 12 points is tied for the team-high in points, that's usually not a good sign for success. Boston just couldn't get anything going offensively for long enough.

The Celtics went with an eight-man rotation for three-and-a-half quarters, rounding it out with Jared Sullinger and Kris Joseph. But without Terry involved in the offense, another stat stood out.

Three-pointers, or the lack thereof.

The Celtics were just 2-for-10 from the three-point line, with Lee hitting both of them. Boston had just one three-pointer in the first half to Philadelphia's five. They trailed, 51-41 going into the half.

But Rivers sent out the same starting lineup to start the third, and Boston again jumped out in front. The C's scored eight straight and went on a 12-2 run that tied the score at 53. That would be the closest Boston got to taking back the lead, as Philly went on a 9-0 run of their own.

Green scored the C's first four points of the 4th quarter to make it a two-point game, but Philly held them off and pulled way once both teams emptied the benches.

Sullinger led the bench in scoring with 11 points and six rebounds, while Lee chipped in with 10.

The Celtics are now off until Opening Night in Miami next Tuesday.