Pregame: Bayless in, but no other changes
Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who has admitted to pondering lineup shuffles, sounded like he was going to stick with this current lineup for at least the next two games, even as some wonder if it's more prudent to lean on younger bigs like Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, who have paired well together off the bench recently.
"There’s good reason to [shuffle the lineup], and there's good reason not to, to be candid," said Stevens. "I like the fact that, right now, Sully and Kelly are primary options when they are playing with that second group. Sully’s coming in so quickly and playing almost the exact same number of minutes as when we start him. We may make changes after this weekend, but I just see day-to-day on that as well. And I feel like Hump and Bass have not had the best moments together in the last couple games, but they are not the only two on the court. It’s fair to remember that, and to assess that while you’re assessing everything else."
A couple other pregame notes:
• Bradley will miss at least two more games. Read more HERE.
• Despite the fact that the 76ers have lost 28 of their last 29 games, Stevens still found a way to praise them. "I just look at the two times we played them, and they beat us here and we barely beat them there," said Stevens. "The thing that I admire most about their team is how hard they are playing, how hard they are cutting. They are third, I think, in the NBA in forcing turnovers, which has been a problem for us at times this year. They are No. 1 in pace, which has been a problem for us when we are trying to transition defensively. It’s one of those deals where, you better bring your A-game, and people in this league recognize that. If you don’t, you’re getting beat no matter who is playing and, for us, we’ve had a couple of tough losses followed by a really bad performance. I think it’s important for us that we play well tonight."
• Leon Powe, who was part of the pregame festivities at the Red Sox' home-opener on Friday, visited the Celtics' locker room before Friday's game and shared a moment with 2008 championship teammate Rajon Rondo.
• Despite his 04-04-14 Tweet hinting at a possible NBA debut in his hometown of Boston, Nerlens Noel is still not ready for game action. Asked if he still might play this season, Philly coach Brett Brown said: "I suppose. It’s probably the most asked question I get and it’s fair enough, especially here in Boston. There’s always a chance."
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