Expect lineup changes to continue after streak-snapping win

Though Brad Stevens has spoken of his desire to field a consistent starting lineup, a change in the opening five helped the Celtics score a 90-89 victory over the Portland Trailblazers Thursday night. Given how many streaks that win snapped, Stevens will likely continue to tinker with the starting rotation.

When Evan Turner's game-winning 3-pointer found its mark with under two seconds left, Boston dumped a number of embarrassing stats off its back:

It was also just the Celtic's fifth road win of the season and the third time in 23 games that Boston has won after trailing after three quarters.

Stevens made the pregame move of replacing Tyler Zeller (who had struggled mightily in Boston's last six games) in the starting rotation with Brandon Bass, a decision that seemed to pay off. With Portland bigs LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland out, Stevens was more comfortable playing a smaller front line with Bass and Jared Sullinger. Bass had 13 points led the team with 10 rebounds and posted a career-high five assists in 31 minutes, while Zeller had seven points and four boards in an active 16 minutes off the pine.

The lineup shifting might not stop there. Stevens indicated before the win over the Blazers that determining the starting group may change on a game-to-game basis:

Sullinger and Bradley are the only Celtics to start every game they've played this season. The Celtics won't be able to rely on their smaller lineup every night, as upcoming opponents Utah and Houston could hurt that unit with their oversized front lines. Though not a true center, Kelly Olynyk has started 16 games this year provides more size and he or Zeller could slide into the starting rotation against bigger teams (though Olynyk sprained an ankle Thursday that will keep him out for a few games at least). And though Evan Turner has given the Celtics solid production at the point, this rebuilding season provides rookie Marcus Smart some low-pressure opportunities to adjust to a job that figures to one day be his.

Stevens may desire a stable starting five, but that may not fit the roster he's been given. This is a malleable group that can be molded to fit the opponent, and if last night's win is any indication, the Celtics will likely follow that model for at least the near future.

Photo credit: Don Ryan, Associated Press Images