Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Pregame: Bradley starts; LeBron out
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics will have their preferred backcourt in place as both Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley are in the starting lineup -- a rarity in these parts in recent seasons due to injuries.
That duo joins Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Kris Humphries to comprise Boston's starting 5. The Celtics will catch a bit of a break as LeBron James will sit out with back spasms. Greg Oden (rest) is also inactive for Miami, while Dwyane Wade is back after sitting out Tuesday's win in Cleveland due to sore knees.
That means Miami is likely to trot out a starting 5 of Wade, Mario Chalmers, Michael Beasley, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem.
The Heat are just 5-5 in their last 10, but Celtics coach Brad Stevens was still heavy in his praise -- particularly of James before he learned he was scratched.
"Miami’s really good," said Stevens. "They are one of the contenders. As we all know, they are the defending two-time champs, so they get the first right of refusal on being the contender, right? They are obviously going through -- like everybody else is -- an injury bug and guys missing games, those type of things. They still have what I think is the best player in the world and a guy that can turn it up to a level that very few people who have ever played this game can. I thought we played great the first two times we played them and we would have to play great again tonight [to be competitive]."
James might have tipped his hand about his inactive status pregame while munching on a McFlurry inside the Heat locker room.
Old friend Ray Allen held court with reporters and said it's still special for him to come back to TD Garden. Asked about the potential for his number to be retired here, Allen suggested it would be a great honor, but that he doesn't think about it much.