WALTHAM -- One of the questions following the Celtics' Game 4 collapse was whether they should have gone back to Brandon Bass, who played one of his best games of the playoffs, scoring 15 points in just 22 minutes. Bass got into foul trouble midway through the third quarter and had only three seconds of playing time in the fourth quarter when the Sixers were able to finish their comeback.
"Honestly, if we made one mistake we should have gone back to Bass," coach Doc Rivers said. "The first three games our smaller lineup was better than our bigger lineup. Statistically in Game 4, the big lineup was better. The big lineup is what got us the lead. Both times when we went small it actually hurt us. That’s something as a staff we have to recognize and it’s a tough call. We’re going to have to make a call every game it looks like and there’s no right or wrong to it. It’s going to have to be a gut feeling and I hope when we make it, it’s the right one."
The small lineup that features Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on the court with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley in the backcourt and Kevin Garnett at center had been very effective for the Celtics. In the first three games, that lineup scored 43 points in 34 possessions and allowed just 28 in 36 possessions. But in Game 4, the Sixers were able to get five offensive rebounds, which helped them outscore Boston 33-20.
"As a coach you can’t overreact," Rivers said. "In the fourth game our small lineup hurt us. In Games 1, 2 and 3 the small lineup defensively changed the game. It’s a feel. It’s what you see on the floor. We’re about to make a change and then Ray makes a 3. Do you make a change? We’re struggling on offense, as well. It’s a tough call."
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