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Stat man: More of this Celtics lineup, please

After Celtics [1] coach Brad Stevens [2] finally granted Jeff Green [3] and Gerald Wallace [4] extended playing time together, the media immediately jumped on its perceived success following Sunday’s preseason loss to the Timberwolves [5].

‘€œI’€™d have to look at the overall numbers on it, but I thought we were pretty good in that stretch — both in the first and second half,” Stevens told reporters in the immediate aftermath [6]. ‘€œWe played them together some in the first half, when we played big on the wings, and we played them some together at the start of the second half. It’€™s probably a 10- or 12-minute clip of that. And, based on how it went tonight, I would say that you’€™ll probably see that again.”

It was actually a 14:34 clip of the highly anticipated Green-Wallace combo, and it started wonderfully. The two combined for 14 points on 5-for-5 shooting over a 4:23 stretch in the first quarter, adding two assists, two rebounds, a steal and a block during a span that trimmed Minnesota’s lead from 11 to four.

Beyond that? Not so much. They combined for a total of 8:11 during the second and fourth quarters, scoring seven points on 1-of-7 shooting to go along with three boards, two assists, two turnovers and a steal for a minus-2 rating.

Overall this preseason, Green and Wallace have shared 22:28 of court time and produced a minus-3 rating. Their production during their seven stints together is encouraging: 28 points (8-16 FG, 10-13 FT), seven assists (against five turnovers), five rebounds, three steals and a block. Although, a little less so when you account for the fact their primary defensive assignments during that span totaled 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting on the other end.

Really, their only successful run came during that first-quarter stint against the Timberwolves on Sunday. Interestingly, that coincided with the sole stretch of the preseason that Green, Wallace, Avery Bradley [7], Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk all played together. Since this lineup fields the C’s five best players in Rajon Rondo [8]‘s absence at the same time, many have clamored for it since Stevens announced his willingness to try Green at shooting guard. Yet, the Celtics coach has only utilized the five-man combo for a total of 2:50.

From the 6:20 mark until 3:30 remained in the first quarter, the Bradley-Green-Wallace-Sullinger-Olynyk quintet finished 5-of-6 from the field: Bradley layup (Green assist), Green layup, Green 3 (Wallace assist), Wallace layup, Wallace layup (Bradley assist) and Sullinger 3 (the lone miss). Not bad, huh? Meanwhile, they held the T-Wolves to 1-of-3 shooting and outscored Minnesota 11-3. Again, this is the only time they’ve played together this fall.

In other words, the Green-Wallace combo has really only ever succeeded — at least so far — inside this lineup. In other five-man combinations, they’ve been relatively pedestrian. So, when Stevens told reporters at Tuesday’s practice [9] we should see the Green-Wallace combo “very early” in Wednesday’s preseason finale against the Paul Pierce [10] and Kevin Garnett [11]-less Nets, hopefully he’ll be playing them alongside Bradley, Sullinger and Olynyk.