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Doc Rivers puts Brandon Bass back in starting lineup for Jason Terry

04.28.13 at 12:29 pm ET
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Brandon Bass (top) was put back in the lineup Sunday for his toughness on Carmelo Anthony. (AP)

Brandon Bass (top) was put back in the lineup Sunday for his toughness on Carmelo Anthony. (AP)

Noting that he really likes his defense on Carmelo Anthony, Celtics coach Doc Rivers announced that he is re-inserting Brandon Bass into the starting lineup, as Jason Terry heads back to his more customary role off the bench.

Bass will join Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Avery Bradley and Jeff Green in the starting lineup.

“I just like Brandon on Melo more,” Rivers said. “Like I said [Saturday], the smaller lineup, the numbers actually say it’s better, but I like our defense better the other way.”

The Celtics will face a Knicks team in Game 4 that will be without “Sixth Man of the Year” J.R. Smith, suspended for the game after throwing an elbow in the face of Terry with seven minutes left in Game 3. Smith, who was averaging 16.3 points in the first three games, was assessed a “Flagrant Foul 2″ for the violation and was suspended by the NBA on Saturday.

What will be the biggest impact of the Knicks losing their second-leading scorer?

“Listen, he’s one of their other guys that can create shots and, especially in the playoffs, you need a guy,” Rivers said. “You think about what we’ve done good in this series, the Knicks are being held 13 points under their normal [scoring] average. And J.R. Smith has played well, because in the playoffs you take teams out of their stuff, and it comes down to guys creating shots for themselves and others. Well, Melo does that, [Raymond Felton] has done that, and J.R. Smith does that. Now they don’t have one of those guys.”

Meanwhile, the Celtics will try to take the first step on the path to NBA history as no team has ever overcome an 0-3 hole in the postseason.

“Obviously when one team is in an elimination situation, and the other team is not, it’s mental really for both,” Rivers said. “I’m not going to concern myself with their mental, but with ours, it’s all mental, it always is.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, J.R. Smith, Jason Terry
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