Doc considered lineup change before O'Neal injury

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Doc considered lineup change before O'Neal injury

BOSTON Brandon Bass is in the Boston Celtics starting lineup again tonight, with Jermaine O'Neal still out with a wrist injury.

Healthy or not, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said beginning games with this five-man group has been on his mind well before O'Neal got hurt.

"I actually like this lineup," Rivers said. "I was actually thinking about doing it, regardless."

With Bass starting along with the Big Four of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the C's led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter at Cleveland on Tuesday night.

But Boston's control didn't last, as the Cavs rallied to make it a game before Boston squeezed out an 86-83 win.

Going from total control to full-blown collapse is nothing new to the C's, who sit at 16-17.

"That's been us all year, really," Rivers said. "We have to figure out a way to sustain play. We played one good quarter and stole the game at the end, which shouldn't happen."

As for when O'Neal will return, that has yet to be determined. Rivers said O'Neal saw a hand specialist on Wednesday, but did not know what the results were from the exam.

O'Neal has missed a total of eight games this season with an assortment of injuries, ranging from his current wrist injury, to soreness in his left shoulder and left knee.

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