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Doc Rivers: ‘We need to have as much versatility as possible going into the playoffs’

04.10.13 at 8:59 pm ET

To Doc Rivers, the key to playoff success will be outmaneuvering his opponent. Given the fact that he’s going to be facing either the Knicks or Pacers in the first round, he’s going to need as many options as possible.

Thus, with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green finding their rhythm heading into the playoffs, this gives Rivers and his staff another bullet in the holster.

“I like the ability to have that lineup and other lineups instead of just having this ‘small lineup’ with Jeff at the 4,” Rivers said. “We want to have three lineups ‘€“ Jeff at the 2, Jeff at the 3, Jeff at the 4. Or if you want to call Paul the 2, I don’€™t care who you call the 2. I just think it gives us more versatility.

Wednesday against the Nets, Rivers featured the lineup (Pierce, Green, Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley) that’s likely going to start the playoffs, of course barring another in an seemingly unending avalanche of injuries.

“This lineup is good,” Rivers said. “It’€™s important because it gives us a third lineup, because there’€™s one lineup we can’€™t go to, and that’€™s the very big lineup, like two 7-footers. We’€™re not going to be able to do that. We need to have as much versatility as possible going into the playoffs to play multiple styles.”

Before Wednesday at the Garden, the Celtics and Nets hadn’t met since Boston’s cakewalk on Christmas Day when the Celtics beat the Nets, 93-76. A game later, Avery Johnson was fired and PJ Carlesimo was promoted to head coach. The Nets are 31-18 since.

Brooklyn won the first two meetings of the season, including the 95-83 decision on Nov. 28 that inspired Doc Rivers to call his team “soft” afterward.

“Well, we’€™re different and they are too, obviously,” Rivers said. “I’€™m sure their confidence is much higher. When we played them on Christmas Day, they were going through a lot of stuff. They handed it to us pretty well earlier in the year. I think both teams are different.”

What does Carlesimo think?

“Obviously Rajon [Rajon Rondo] not being here, [Jason Collins] started for them at center last time, [Kevin Garnett is] just coming back [and] we’€™re playing kind of a different roster now than we were playing then,” he said before Wednesday’s contest. “It’€™s different. But again, they play the same way. They came in and just lit us up on Christmas Day and we played well the game prior to that up here. I don’€™t think either of us will do things differently, I just think it’€™ll be different players.”

During Wednesday’s game, Kevin Garnett moved into sixth place on the NBA’s all-time minutes played list, moving ahead of John Stockton, who had 47,764 minutes played in his hall of fame career. The only players ahead of Garnett are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Elvin Hayes, Jason Kidd and Wilt Chamberlain.

Read More: Doc Rivers, John Stockton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Garnett
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