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Celtics experiment with small ball

Posted By Paul Flannery On October 1, 2012 @ 1:22 pm In General | No Comments

WALTHAM — The buzzword around the Celtics [1] these days is “versatility.” In Jason Terry [2], Courtney Lee [3] and especially Jeff Green [4], coach Doc Rivers [5] has a number of different lineup combinations he can use, and he plans to test them all. Rivers pointed to Rajon Rondo [6], who was getting stretched out behind the media scrum. “He’ll be very happy.”

Their last practice before departing for Istanbul was devoted entirely to using small lineups, although small is a relative term. The C’s believe that the 6-foot-9 Green can force matchups whether he’s at the three or the four and there’s even a thought of playing him and Paul Pierce [7] together with two traditional bigs.

“We put it in [Sunday] but we didn’€™t work on it,” Rivers said. “Today we’€™re going to have almost exclusively have small lineups on the floor so that will be fun. This is the first year we’€™ve ever really worked on it and we’€™re going to work on it so we can do it every game.”

Green is the key because of his length and athleticism. Last season, Rivers used Mickael Pietrus [8] as a smaller small forward with Pierce playing the four. That lineup was almost born out of desperation as a counter to Miami using LeBron James [9] as the second big around a lineup of perimeter shooters.Rivers doesn’t just want to matchup, he wants to attack and he sees Green as a force in the open court.

“He’€™s the main guy when you talk about small lineups,” Rondo said. “He played the four at Oklahoma City, he stretched the floor with his shooting. We can get a lot of bigs on the floor as well. He can go from the four to the three. Defensively, he can check one through four, I believe. We expect a lot out of Jeff but he’€™s fine with that pressure.”

A key to making the smaller lineups work is also coming up with an offense that won’t stall when Rondo is off the court — a frequent occurrence last season. With no traditional backup point guard on the roster and Avery Bradley [10] out for a few months, that task may fall to Terry.

“He’€™s a better ballhandler,” Rivers said. “I knew he could score of the dribble but he’€™s really a natural at the point. That surprised me. We have no choice right now with Avery out. We’€™re trying to create an offense where it’€™s not a point guard dominated offense, unless Rondo’€™s on the floor.”


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URLs in this post:

[1] Celtics: http://media.weei.com/basketball/boston-celtics.htm

[2] Jason Terry: http://media.weei.com/basketball/jason-terry.htm

[3] Courtney Lee: http://media.weei.com/basketball/courtney-lee.htm

[4] Jeff Green: http://media.weei.com/basketball/jeff-green.htm

[5] Doc Rivers: http://media.weei.com/basketball/doc-rivers.htm

[6] Rajon Rondo: http://media.weei.com/basketball/rajon-rondo.htm

[7] Paul Pierce: http://media.weei.com/basketball/paul-pierce.htm

[8] Mickael Pietrus: http://media.weei.com/basketball/mickael-pietrus.htm

[9] LeBron James: http://media.weei.com/basketball/lebron-james.htm

[10] Avery Bradley: http://media.weei.com/basketball/avery-bradley.htm

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