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Monday, October 28, 2013
Practice: Lineup remains unsettled

By Chris Forsberg

Chris Forsberg/ESPN BostonThe Celtics close out practice on Monday in Waltham.
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens is in no hurry to reveal the players that will comprise the team's starting 5 for opening night on Wednesday in Toronto.

After utilizing five different five-man combinations during eight exhibition games, Stevens said the starting lineup remains unsettled and could be dictated by the day-to-day performance of his players.

"It is so fluid," said Stevens. "It can go day to day. It can really go day to day. Just when you think you’ve got one established, they’re not as fluid or they’re not as successful. We’ve got to continue to focus on the good things that are happening and figure out who’s going to be the most consistent."

The Celtics closed out their exhibition slate by starting the five-man combo of Avery Bradley, Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green, Kelly Olynyk, and Vitor Faverani against the Brooklyn Nets. At the end of practice on Monday, those were five of the seven players (Brandon Bass and Phil Pressey the others) wearing green shirts that typically indicate starters.

"I don’t know the starting lineup for Wednesday yet. I really don’t," said Stevens. "I’ve got an idea. It could be anything from what we started the other day, to making a change or two depending on how tomorrow’s practice goes."

Stevens could be using the suspense to further encourage his players to distinguish themselves on the floor. He did admit that, despite his usual preference not to do such, he might have to consider personnel based on the opponent.

"I’m not usually of that ilk," said Stevens."I think I’d rather have people adjust to us than us adjust to them. [But] that might be the case some."

A handful of notes from practice:

* FULL PARTICIPATION: The Celtics had all 14 bodies available for Monday's session. Even Rajon Rondo went through some non-contact drills while wearing a new brace over his right knee. The team took the weekend off to rest up, but Stevens expected the team to be full-go on Monday.

* PRACTICE REVIEW: Asked about Monday's session, Stevens said, "We were OK. We weren’t great. We weren’t bad. But we were OK. We’ve got to be better at that to play at the level we want to play at." The Celtics will get on the floor Tuesday afternoon before flying to Toronto in advance of Wednesday's opener against the Raptors.

* A FAMILIAR OPPONENT: Having already seen Atlantic Division foe Toronto twice during the regular season, it brings a bit of familiarity to the first game of the season. But Stevens, in his first season as an NBA coach, admitted he'll lean heavy on his assistants to help scout the opponents. "First of all, that’s why you get a great staff around you," said Stevens. "That’s the most important thing, having guys that are reliable and get their work done and do good work. Then, it’s just making it as easy as possible as it is for me to transition quickly to the next game and then us making it as easy as possible for the players to transition to the next game. Scouting is a fine line because you can overdo it, and you can underdo it, but you’ve got to find the right amount. We’ll work on that each game. Every game is going to be different, because it’s how much time you have between games." Boston plays 19 games over the first 31 days of the season, including six back-to-backs that all close on the road.

* OPTION ROUTE?: Asked about lingering team options for next season on the likes of Jared Sullinger and MarShon Brooks, Stevens politely punted to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. "It’s not my role," he said with a smile. "We haven’t talked about it. I’m just trying to figure out how we’re going to guard a couple of these [opponents] on the blocks."