More lineup tinkering in exhibition finale


More lineup tinkering in exhibition finale

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.

Report: Celtics could land George if they sign Hayward

Report: Celtics could land George if they sign Hayward

As rumors swirl in this post-draft, pre-free agency week for the NBA, Adam Kaufman of 98.5 The Sports Hub reported Friday that the Celtics could land long-rumored target Gordon Hayward AND trade for Paul George. And Kaufman says George would be more than just a one-year rental.

Kaufman elaborated on a possible George deal on his "Celtics @ 7" show Saturday. He said the trade with the Indiana Pacers wouldn't cost Boston next year's Brooklyn pick, rather it would be the first-round pick (Lakers 2018 or Kings 2010) acquired this week from the Philadelphia 76ers when Boston traded down the No. 1 for No. 3, along with Jae Crowder and another salary filler. 


Before you run out and buy that No. 13 Celtics Paul George jersey, Dan Feldman of explains how financially disadvantageous it would be for George - long thought to want to head to the Lakers - to do this. 


Did Suns ask Josh Jackson to cancel his Celtics workout to keep him from Boston?

Did Suns ask Josh Jackson to cancel his Celtics workout to keep him from Boston?

Danny Ainge made no secret of being miffed when Kansas small forward Josh Jackson canceled his workout with the Celtics in Sacramento at the last minute. 

The Celtics, of course, passed on Jackson and selected Jayson Tatum of Duke with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Suns GM Ryan McDonough's comments at Jackson's introductory press conference lend some credence to the theory that the canceled workout was part of Phoenix's plan to keep the Celtics from selecting Jackson and leave him for the Suns at No. 4.

Check out this portion of Jackson's presser via a tweet from Mike McClune of KPHO-TV: 

"I think you guys who know me well know how competitive I am. Look, it is a competition," said McDonough, a former assistant GM to Ainge with the C's "The Celtics were ahead of us at No. 3 and they could have selected whoever they wanted to. I think they got a very good player in Jayson Tatum, but that doesn’t mean B.J. [Armstrong, Jackson's agent] and I and...other members of my staff couldn’t talk and try to formulate the best plan to get a player we were really high on to a place we felt he really wanted to go and would be a great fit for him.

"We played by the rules – I guess,” McDonough said to some laughter in the room.

Jackson will certainly get more playing time with the rebuilding Suns that the contending Celtics. Ainge called Jackson "a terrific kid and a good player” after the draft, and said the Celtics were set on Tatum all along, even if they hadn't traded the No. 1 pick.

Jackson said his decision to blow off Ainge coach Brad Stevens and assistant GM Mike Zarren after their cross-country flight was "last-minute" and his plans to work out "just didn't work out."