The Boston Celtics bench outscored the Cavs bench 51 to 7 last night. In fact, 51 points is actually 10 more than the Celtics starters. It leaves two major questions; How much of the point differential is Boston capitalizing on Cleveland's lack of depth and does the Celtics starting lineup need a shakeup as Zach Lowe mentions in his tweet?
The most likely candidate to be demoted has to be Brandon Bass, whose uncharacteristically been nothing short of brutal in the first two games on the series; Totaling just 12 points (on 3 for 12 shooting) and an embarrassingly low 3 rebounds in 42 minutes. Not only has shooting been bad, but it does feel like he's really forcing things offensively. I'm not sure he needs to be taken out of the lineup, but adjustments certainly need to be there. While Bass has always been a subaverage rebounder (he averaged below 5 in 23 minutes a game this past season) he can't be this bad, and his shots need to come in a better flow; he's never been particularly good with his back to the basket, and Kevin Love's subaverage defense isn't changing that (at least not with Mozgov behind him and Lebron lurking). If improvements can't be made there, I do believe Stevens will be forced to give the starting position to Jae Crowder (or if he can remember how to rebound, Jared Sullinger).
The other possible change is finding a way to put Isaiah Thomas in the starting lineup, which is something I'm fairly confident he wouldn't mind. But is that the right move? I'm not sure. Thomas is a wizard at getting to the basket, and last night I thought he actually did a really good job creating for others. And while he made some poor decisions, he was unquestionably the catalyst to the Celtics late third quarter surge (one that really felt like it should've started earlier). But I wonder how much he benefits from being able to get large chunks of minutes when the Cavaliers play Tristan Thompson, whose mostly a below average defender, at the center position.
Additionally, I don't know who you can take out. Evan Turner is frighteningly, and by a wide margin, the teams best rebounder two games into the series (he has 19 rebounds, Jae Crowder is second with 10). That's very much needed against a Cavalier starting lineup that features three above average rebounders in James, Love and Mozgov. Playing Turner and Thomas together actually creates multiple problems, because both players really need the ball in their hands to be effective, and it would seemingly require either Marcus Smart of Avery Bradley to initiate the offense for stretches of the game. That's not something I'm sure they're ready for, particularly if Cleveland decided to pressure them with either Shumpert, Smith or James.
At this point, I think it's too early to change the starting lineup; Adjustments need to be made, not wholesale changes.
Start Your Morning Off With... Kevin Love, Washington General
Vintage WTHHT: What the Hell Happened to... Doug Smith? Authored by TB727
Most of the times in What the Hell Happened To, we find guys that overcame great odds to stick around and make the team. But there are always exceptions to the rule. This week we remember back on one of the higher-picked WTHHT guys. He may have been ordinary in name but he was absolutely extraordinary in game while at the University of Missouri. You gotta remember Doug Smith.