Pregame: Rondo, Bass start vs. Spurs
Avery Bradley is out indefinitely with a second sprain in his right ankle, and Gerald Wallace will start in his place.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens admitted he gave some consideration to starting Chris Johnson at shooting guard given the energy burst he's given the team recently, but likes the flexibility of pairing Wallace with starting swingman Jeff Green.
"I actually like some of the flexibility defensively that the Jeff-Gerald lineup gives us," Stevens said. "I also think, in the starts, specifically in the last couple of weeks, I think Gerald's really given us great minutes. It would be between Gerald and Chris, and I think Gerald gives us a lot of flexibility on defense and they’ve got to match a smaller guard up with either Jeff or Gerald and then we can leave one of those guys in so we are regular-sized at the 3, then bring Chris in for whoever."
The Spurs are battling injuries and ailments of their own, but Stevens said it won't slow them.
"First of all, I think some of the most inspiring basketball that I’ve ever watched is when they don’t have all their players," Stevens said. "Some of the most inspiring basketball I’ve ever watched is when they do have all their players. They are one of the very few elite teams in the league. They move the ball. They move bodies. They know their system inside and out.
"They can plug into those spots and, on any given night, that person can have 20 or 25 points. The other night in Charlotte, they are struggling early on, and Patty Mills comes off the bench and goes for 32. They are running actions for him at the end that other teams are running for All-Stars. That’s the way they are. They have a tremendous, tremendous system. And I have nothing but the most respect for them. They are basketball in the purest form on both ends of the court."
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