- Chris Forsberg, Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- The Celtics shuffled their lineup for Game 4 of an Eastern Conference first-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers by moving Jae Crowder into the starting lineup and rookie Marcus Smart to the bench.
It's a move that the team decided on Saturday when it practiced with Crowder in a starter's role, but it might have occurred anyhow because Smart was tardy to the team's shootaround on Sunday morning when he overslept.
"Jae Crowder for Marcus Smart. I decided that [Saturday], just because Jae has been very good in this series," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "We could have gone a couple of different directions with that, but obviously it's just five more minutes where you're matched up a little bit more traditionally with [the Cavaliers]. Again, I don't think it's an exact science, because our starts have been reasonable. But that's the decision we made."
When revealing Smart's tardiness, Stevens added, "Marcus may not play early with [the second unit], I don't know what we're going to do. Marcus was, and I told him I'd share this with you, Marcus was late for shootaround because he overslept. We've been there before and, as I told Marcus, I'm not worried about him at all. This is not a big Marcus thing. And Jae Crowder would have started anyways."
During the regular season, Jared Sullinger was tardy for two shootarounds. Each time he was removed from the starting lineup. The second time, he sat out the entire first quarter.
Sullinger's status for Game 4 remains uncertain as he deals with a bruised tailbone suffered in Thursday's Game 3. The team deemed him as probable Saturday, and Sullinger told Stevens he was feeling better Sunday morning. The Celtics' reluctance to make additional changes to the starting lineup -- Jonas Jerebko had practiced with the starters at the end of Saturday's practice -- might reveal trepidation about how much Sullinger will be able to contribute overall.
The seventh-seeded Celtics trail the second-seeded Cavaliers 3-0 and are looking to avoid being swept out of the playoffs.
The Celtics moved Jae Crowder into the starting lineup and rookie Marcus Smart to the bench for Game 4 against the Cavaliers.