C's turn to lineup that made late-season charge

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C's turn to lineup that made late-season charge

BOSTON The Boston Celtics will turn to a familiar lineup tonight as they try to get their season on track.

Doc Rivers will have Brandon Bass back in the starting lineup tonight which provides the C's with the same first unit that made a late charge last season that eventually catapulted the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals.

Bass will replace Jason Collins which means Kevin Garnett slides back to manning the center position. Paul Pierce remains at small forward while the backcourt will consist of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley.

"We want to stay as big as possible," said Rivers. "What we didn't like with Jason in the lineup now we're going to play him every night, is that when he and Kevin are off the floor we get small quickly. So this way we can keep a big on the floor at all times."

The move should also benefit Bass, who has struggled with his shot most of this season.

As a starter this season, Bass has shot 45.6 percent from the field compared to just 40 percent in games in which he came off the bench.

Rivers acknowledged that having the group that made a strong run towards the end of last season and into the playoffs was part of the decision.

And as far as it helping Bass get his shot back on track?

Yeah, that was a factor, too.

"You don't do it just for the group; you do it for the individual at times," Rivers said. "Brandon plays better when he's playing with Kevin, though everyone has for that matter. But clearly Brandon has and that's one of the reasons we're doing it."

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights from the TD Garden as Devin Booker had a historic performance where he scored 70 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win over the Celtics.

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

BOSTON – Stacking wins on top of wins is the mindset of the Boston Celtics right now, so the players who did speak to the media following Friday’s 130-120 win over Phoenix drove that point home emphatically.

But inside the locker room, it was unusually quiet, the kind of silence you expect following a loss.

Considering how the Celtics’ defense was absolutely thrashed by Devin Booker’s franchise record 70 points, there’s no question at a minimum the Celtics’ pride overall was stung.

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And when Suns coach Earl Watson began calling time-outs and having his team commit fouls at the end of the game, there’s no question it rubbed a few Celtics the wrong way.

“I don’t think anybody has ever seen that; continuing to call time-outs, continuing to foul when we are up 15. But I mean, it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him (Booker) the most points possible. Hat off to to him (Booker). He played a hell of a game.”

Following the game, Watson defended his late-game decision making.

“Calling time-outs at the end kept the game close,” he said. “It’s basketball; I’m not coming to any arena to be liked. If people don’t like us while we build … so what? Do something about it.”

The Suns (22-51) never came any closer than 10 points, which was the final score margin.

Al Horford acknowledged that there was some aggravation following the game.

“You can be frustrated when somebody is doing that to you,” he said. “It’s not to one guy, it’s to the team so I think we’re probably more aggravated at ourselves, at least personally I feel that way. I probably could have done a little better, maybe done some different things to prevent it. We got to give him credit, 70 points, I don’t care it’s 70, he got 70. It’s impressive.”

But there will be some inside the Celtics locker room and among their fan base, who were bothered by the Suns’ late-game actions which seemed more focused on Booker getting numbers than anything else.

When asked about being disrespected by the Suns’ late-game strategy, Thomas wanted no part of that conversation.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said. “We won the game. We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery.”

 Boom!