Tuesday, May 8, 2012
All hurt Celtics returning to floor
By Chris Forsberg ESPNBoston.com
ATLANTA -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said everyone on his team is a go for Tuesday's Game 5 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Atlanta Hawks, and despite nagging injuries to Paul Pierce (knee), Ray Allen (ankle) and Avery Bradley (shoulder), Boston will trot out its typical starting lineup.
"Everybody's good, which is good," Rivers said. "I wasn't that concerned. I was far more concerned last game. I was pretty confident that everyone would play tonight. Everybody's banged up, and that's one of the things I told our guys, they have the same issues over there."
Eastern Conference Playoffs
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He brushed aside the notion of having to "drop the hammer" against the Hawks, with Boston up 3-1 and looking for the knockout blow.
"We look at it as it's important to play well," he said. "And if you do that, then everything takes care of itself. If you get caught looking at putting the hammer and all that stuff down, you lose."
In search of a jolt, Hawks coach Larry Drew said his team will shuffle its starting lineup to feature Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith and Al Horford. That moves Kirk Hinrich and Jason Collins back to the bench and adds some bulk to the Atlanta lineup, particularly with Johnson shuffling down to the shooting guard spot.
"I just wanted to give us a different look and see it if will kinda jump-start us a bit," Drew said. "It gives us an opportunity to move Joe back to some 2, it makes us bigger, so we can do a few more things defensively in making some adjustments in Game 5.
"And I just think it's time -- you play four games in the playoffs and, obviously it's a game of adjustments and you try to do things that will benefit the team. I think, at this time, down 3-1, it's time to give it a different look see it if will jump-start us with Al and Marvin in the starting lineup ... get us going."
Rivers acknowledged that Atlanta's changes to its starting lineup gives the Hawks their "best players on the floor to start the game. It makes them who they were going to be before Al got injured. They're playing their best team."