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It's only happened twice. An eight seed taking down the top ranked team in the first round of the NBA playoffs. But the top seeded Boston Celtics were staring at an 0-2 hole after a decisive win by the Chicago Bulls in the TD Garden in game two.

The C's were being crushed on the boards, Robin Lopez was having his way with Celtics bigs down low, and talks of the series upset were catching fire, not to mention the claims that Boston didn't deserve to be the one seed.

Criticism of Brad Stevens ramped up, pointing to the young coach's playoff resume that included three trips to the postseason, but only two wins.

There needed to be some kind of change.

Stevens found it.

Gerald Green, the high-flying veteran initially drafted by the Celtics more than a decade ago, was inserted into the starting lineup.

Green took the place of Amir Johnson, who started in all but three of his appearances in a Celtics uniform during the regular season. Then, the C's caught fire.

Four straight wins later, and the Celtics are onto the second round and Green started each of those games.

It's not like Gerald was hiding an unreal talent that could only be unleashed in the playoffs, but the calculated decision by Brad Stevens to swap the bigger Amir Johnson out for a smaller wing-type player seemed to perplex Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls.

Suddenly, Lopez wasn't camped under the basket able to grab every single missed shot, and the space on the floor was gorgeous. Chicago even benched Lopez for extended minutes searching for a way to match up with this Celtics lineup.

On the defensive end, suddenly the C's could handle switches a little better, and it didn't feel like an offensive onslaught by Chicago every time down.

Now, fans, skeptics, and everyone else might say Rajon Rondo's thumb injury that kept him on the sideline from game three onward may be to blame for the Bulls collapse, but Chicago role players Bobby Portis, Paul Zipser, and starter Nikola Mirotic were complacent after hot performances in games one and two.

Combine that with the 44 points Green put up in his four starts, alongside momentum changing highlights. In game six, Green's ability to slice into the lane and finish easily at the rim seemed to deflate an already flat Bulls team, especially when it was a two-handed slam.

That's why, to me, Stevens outcoached Hoiberg.

Through awful shooting in games four and five, Stevens pushed his team to win the series, and his players, especially Gerald Green, clearly acknowledge his brilliant coaching.

Now the Celtics move onto the Washington Wizards in the second round. Whether Stevens decides to stick with Green in the starting lineup will remain to be seen, but with a 4-0 record, should he go back to Amir?

Follow Topher Lane on Twitter, @Topher_L. Photo credit: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images.

Topher Lane 4/29/2017 09:00:00 AM Edit
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