The Celtics began the Brad Stevens experience losing four straight before rattling off four wins in a row — two over Orlando, one over the Heat and Jazz — and have since lost their last two. The latest loss was last night against the Portland Trail Blazers, 109-96, as LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 12 rebounds and Mo Williams came off the Blazer bench to dish out 8 assists and score 18 points on 8-13 shooting.
After moving Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry last offseason, it would be fair to say the Celtics are rebooting and angling for a high draft pick next summer, yet they are also within a game and a half of the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Celtics probable starting lineup:
PG Jordan Crawford
SG Avery Bradley
SF Jeff Green
PF Brandon Bass
C Kelly Olynyk
Jeff Green’s 16.8 points per game lead the Celtics in scoring, shooting 45% from the field and 39% from 3.Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford have been sharing the point guard duties while Rajon Rondo is out recovering from ACL surgery.
With Rondo expected to be at full strength sometime in December and then week-to-week after that, Stevens has ridden Bradley and Wallace’s perimeter defense. Boston is 7th in the league in points allowed, at 96.9 a game.
Green, Bass, Bradley and (old man from New Jersey) Gerald Wallace are leading the Celtics in minutes so far this season.
Wolves probable starting lineup:
PG Ricky Rubio
SG Kevin Martin
SF Corey Brewer
PF Kevin Love
C Nikola Pekovic
Rick Adelman again rode his starters hard in the loss in Denver, ignoring his bench, playing only 8 players on the first night of a back-to-back. Among them, rookie Robbie Hummel (13 minutes) got the nod ahead of Derrick Williams (none). The thing is, the Wolves’ bench actually produced 33 points on 16-29 shooting as JJ Barea (25 minutes) and Dante Cunningham (26 minutes) kept the +/- at an acceptable -2.
Pek was a human climbing wall in Denver, as the referees gave a lot of leeway down low. Boston rookie Vitor Faverani, listed at 6’11” and 260 pounds, could provide a good matchup should fellow rookie, Olynyk or Bass get into foul trouble.
Martin showed no ill effects from his bout with the flu, shooting 9-20 (but only 2-7 from deep) for 27 points.
Rubio went scoreless, missing all 5 of his shots, while racking up 12 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals.