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If Jermaine O'Neal returns to the Celtics this season it won't be as a starter. Doc has decided he prefers KG at the center position and Bass starting at the power forward position. Ironically Jermaine O'Neal has started most of the games he has played as a Celtic, but that never was by design. He was added to fill the Rasheed role off the bench, but with the Perk injury (and then trade) and then the Shaq injury Jermaine had to start at the end of last season and in the playoffs. And then this year KG was going to start at center, but both of the starting power forward candidates, David West and Jeff Green, ended up not playing for the Celtics. Jermaine gets beat up pretty bad from Celtics fans, but I think if he was playing the role he was signed for (20 minutes off the bench), he's have been viewed in a brighter light.

Doc had the following to say about the new starting line-up:
Jermaine O’Neal, who is seeking alternate opinions about his sore left wrist after taking a cortisone shot last week, is not holding up the starting rotation. Rivers said he decided during the All-Star break to start bringing O’Neal off the bench.

The reason is a quicker, more athletic team with Kevin Garnett at center and Brandon Bass at power forward. O’Neal, then, is back where he started last season — as a reserve.

“We’re quicker, there’s no doubt, and Kevin has been fantastic at the 5,” Rivers said. “I had made the decision even before the injury — when Brandon and Kevin come back, that will be our starting five, and JO and Chris (Wilcox) and whoever else will come off the bench. I made that decision long before whether he was coming back or not.” . . .

Looks like Doc is getting ready for the postseason, where the Celtics do still have a puncher's shot at this thing. He's shortened the rotation to 9 to get players gelling better and now he's tweaked the starting line-up to get his best 5 out there from the get go. If they can remain healthy that's a pretty formidable starting 5.

JR 3/05/2012 09:15:00 PM Edit
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