Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Pregame: Crawford joins starting 5
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens will tweak the team's starting 5 for the first time this season, shuffling combo guard Jordan Crawford onto the first unit and moving Gerald Wallace to a reserve role.
Crawford will share ball-handling duties with Avery Bradley in the backcourt, while Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and Vitor Faverani remain in the starting lineup. Stevens also hinted that rookie point guard Phil Pressey, who has logged three DNPs through four games this season, could see time in a reserve point guard role.
"[Bradley and Crawford will] both play point, they’ll both handle the ball," said Stevens. "I think we’re able to run a bigger variety of things with both guys in than we are with one guy in over the other. Our offensive numbers have been pretty good with Jordan in the game. It also gives you a few tweaks, potentially, off the bench. There’s a chance to put Phil in early because it’s a guy that, again, plays a role that may enhance others."
Wallace, who left Monday's game in Memphis with a bruised knee, is available and Stevens thinks he can get the 13th-year veteran going more off the bench (it's been a slow start for Wallace, offensively).
"I think I can do some things with him that will really help him with that second group," said Stevens.
The Celtics and Jazz meet Wednesday in a battle of the league's only 0-4 teams (and two of only four teams without a win). Enduring the first four-game losing streak of his college/pro career, are the struggles bothering Stevens?
"It gets to me," he said. "One of the things I hopefully have and shows -- I’ve got resolve. I know that I’ve got to come to work the next day and be the best we can be. We’ve got to make minor tweaks because we’re not far from winning a couple of those games. And at the same time, until you win, you are far. But I’m just working on it everyday. And I’m putting a lot of thought into it, as are these guys and these coaches. We’re going to keep on grinding at it."
A couple other quick hits from pregame:
* BUTLER REUNION: Not surprisingly, much of the pregame centered on the relationship between Stevens and Utah forward Gordon Hayward from their Butler days. More on that later, but Stevens was gushing about Hayward pregame when he offered, "You watch the film and, in a lot of ways, I’m a proud coach. Because you’re watching him and you’re really enjoying watching him. Then you get sick to your stomach because you have to play against him."
* LET'S TALK ROTATION! A lot of rotation questions pregame. The Cliffs Notes version: Stevens said again that Kris Humphries is a victim of numbers with the Celtics leaning on four bigs, but said he's hopeful to find minutes for him. Until then, Stevens offered high praise for Humphries being a pro in terms of staying ready and understanding the logjam. As for why Jared Sullinger hasn't seen a spike in minutes yet, Stevens noted, "I’d love to give him a bigger role, but he’s continuing to get back into full shape."