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Brandon Bass and Jermaine O’Neal will split starting role

The Celtics [1] made a late-minute switch before their game against the Bulls on Friday with Brandon Bass [2] inserted into the starting lineup ahead of Jermaine O’Neal [3]. Celtics coach Doc Rivers [4] said he’s been thinking about the switch since training camp and he’ll probably use that starting lineup 70 percent of the time.

“It was a lineup that I wanted to get to because I thought it gave us more versatility and I thought our rotations were easier when you bring in Jermaine in for Kevin [Garnett [5]], you stay big,” Rivers said. “What I’€™m trying to do is always have Jermaine or Kevin, just size on the floor.”

It’s not a change in minutes. Bass will still play 25-30 and O’Neal will work about 20-25 minutes. The starting assignment will be based on matchups and against the Bulls who start two big forwards in Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah [6] it made sense to counter with the Celtics’ top big forwards. O’Neal may start on Saturday against the Pacers who have a traditional center in Roy Hibbert [7].

Rivers also said that he was working though his rotations for Garnett. His five minutes on, five minutes off plan sounds good in theory, but Garnett is a rhythm player and the coach admitted it was tough to take him off the floor when he starts to find it.

“I still like it,” Rivers said. “I don’€™t love it but I think it’€™s something that we have to do.”