Rivers confident in Celtics rotation

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Rivers confident in Celtics rotation

HARTFORD, Conn. Even as Doc Rivers continues to go all mad scientist on the Boston Celtics roster with his ongoing mixing of different player combinations, it's pretty clear that he has a nine-man unit in mind that he's quite comfortable playing consistently.

"We know what the rotation is," Rivers said. "We practice it enough. We're not that concerned by it."

In Saturday's 98-95 overtime loss to the New York Knicks, Rivers had Brandon Bass back in the starting lineup in place of rookie Jared Sullinger. But he kept Jason Terry in with the first unit ahead of Courtney Lee who got the start in Boston's first preseason game in Turkey.

Bass and Terry, joined by the Celtics' usual starting trio of Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, was Boston's third different starting lineup in as many games.

Meanwhile, Boston's bench rotation consisted of Jeff Green, Darko Milicic, Courtney Lee and Sullinger.

"They all played well," Rivers said.

Especially in the first half which ended with the Celtics ahead, 50-42.

All four of Boston's backups had a plusminus ratio of at least 5.

"They did a great job defensively and that allowed them to get some easy baskets in transition," Terry said. "But again, we're just building now. Everybody is trying to find a rhythm at this point."

Green echoed similar sentiments following the loss.

"No matter who is on the bench, we know what we gotta do," said Green who had 12 points. "We watch the game, we see what we have to do, what we have to bring."

And that job is easier when there are not only a number of threats on the floor, but also a team filled with players who know and accept their roles wholeheartedly.

"No matter who it is," Green said. "We're going to come in and do our job."

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

BOSTON -- When it comes to NBA awards and accolades, players in contention often try to play it cool when asked about whether they are deserving.
 
And then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who gives a definitive response whenever the question about whether he should be an All-Star starter is raised.
 
We’ll find out later today if Thomas will in fact be named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team when the East and West starters are announced. 
 
“It’s a little bit refreshing in that he is open about it,” Danny Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show this morning. “But every player wants to be acknowledged by their fan base, by other players in the league, coaches. You come into the league and as a young player you want to earn the respect of your peers and then you want to get paid and then you want to be an All-Star; maybe that’s the wrong order; and then nothing more important than winning.
 
Ainge added, “Isaiah is having a great year. He’s talked a lot about it. At some point in his career, he’ll talk about the most important thing and that’s winning championships.”
 
Ainge pointed to when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all Celtics, there was no mistaking that winning came before anything else.
 
But where those guys were in their careers in terms of individual achievements and just age, were major factors in their focus being so deeply rooted in winning.
 
“Along the way they all want to win, but when you get to the point where Paul, Ray and KG were in their 30s, they didn’t care about any of that other stuff because they had it all, already,” Ainge said. “They had multiple All-Star games, they had big contracts, winning became the only thing that mattered.”
 
In other Celtics-related news, Ainge said that there’s no timetable for when Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will return to the floor. He has missed five of the last six games with the injury which includes last night’s loss to the New York Knicks which was a game in which the 6-foot-2 Bradley was a last-minute scratch from the lineup